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Am J Clin Dermatol. 2009;10(5):281-5. doi: 10.2165/00128071-200910050-00001.

Nontuberculous mycobacterial skin infections: recognition and management.

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Department of Dermatology, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, Pennsylvania, USA.


Mycobacterial organisms have re-emerged as an important cause of infectious disease worldwide. Both tuberculosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial infections remain endemic in many parts of the world and are becoming more common in patients with iatrogenic immunosuppression and HIV infection. The nontuberculous mycobacteria, often referred to as mycobacteria other than tuberculosis (MOT), are of special significance to the dermatologist because they often present in the skin, typically after exposure to an aqueous environment. Presentations range from indolent nodules with sporotrichoid spread to acute suppurative folliculitis and abscess formation. Infection with MOT should be considered whenever routine bacterial cultures are negative. Cultures should be obtained, but empiric therapy must often be started while cultures are pending. Some data suggest that clarithromycin may be the best initial empiric therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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