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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2006 Nov;48(2):159-78.

The new mycobacteria: an update.

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Regional Reference Centre for Mycobacteria, Careggi Hospital, Florence, Italy.


The continuous evolution of mycobacterial taxonomy may represent a source of confusion for laboratories and clinicians. Apart from the obvious pathogenic strains of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium ulcerans, the role of other mycobacteria may be associated with varying conditions ranging from contamination to specific disease processes. Of the more than 120 mycobacterial species recognized currently, very few have not been reported as pathogenic in humans or animals. Although the attempt to keep pace with the steadily increasing number of mycobacterial species seems hopeless, a careful review of the recent literature relevant to the newly described species may be advantageous. The aim of this present update is to provide epidemiological and clinical information along with major phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of the species described in the last 3 years.

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