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Int J Dermatol. 2005 Oct;44(10):846-50.

Iatrogenic Mycobacterium abscessus infection associated with acupuncture: clinical manifestations and its treatment.

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Department of Dermatology and Internal Medicine, Korea University Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea.



Mycobacterial infections transmitted by acupuncture are an emerging problem. There have been two reports of mycobacterial infections complicating acupuncture in the English literature.


To describe the clinical manifestations and treatment of patients who acquired localized Mycobacterium abscessus infection in the process of acupuncture.


Clinical manifestations and responses to different methods of treatment were reviewed in 40 patients who developed various skin lesions after acupuncture at a Korean oriental medicine clinic. Results The morphology of the lesions which developed at the acupuncture sites varied. Although the lesions disappeared with the combined administration of clarithromycin and amikacin for 3 months in most cases, five out of 25 patients (20%) showed residual lesions at the end of treatment, and had to be treated with a higher dosage of clarithromycin or alternative antibiotics based on sensitivity tests.


We recommend at least 3 months of treatment with clarithromycin for treating skin infections caused by M. abscessus, with supplementary antibiotics selected based on patients' drug sensitivity tests.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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