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Hautarzt. 2008 Jan;59(1):59-70; quiz 71. doi: 10.1007/s00105-007-1447-1.

[Cutaneous infections due to atypical mycobacteria].

[Article in German]

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Dermatologische Abteilung, Kantonsspital Aarau, Tellstrasse, 5001 Aarau, Schweiz.


Atypical mycobacteria are environmental saprophytes. Occasionally they may enter human skin through injuries and cause localized infection. Papules, nodules, plaques, ulcers and panniculitis-like lesions are common manifestations. Disseminated infection occurs in immunocompromised patients. Evidence of mycobacterial infection can be obtained by tissue specimens, culture being most important for diagnosis. Because many mycobacteria only grow on special media and at special temperatures it is crucial that clinical suspicion is raised so correct testing is performed. Buruli ulcer caused by M. ulcerans is the most prevalent atypical mycobacteriosis worldwide; its occurrence is restricted to tropical areas. In European countries fish tank granuloma caused by M. marinum is most commonly observed. M. avium-complex, M. kansasii und rapidly growing mycobacteria of M. fortuitum-complex are other atypical mycobacteria that can cause cutaneous infection. Treatment is difficult because many atypical mycobacteria are resistant to common antibiotics.

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