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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997 Apr;16(4):354-8.

Mycobacterial lung disease in cystic fibrosis: a prospective study.

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Pediatric Pulmonary, (DM, HVT) Department, Hôpital d'Enfants Armand Trousseau, France.



Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) may be predisposed to airway infections with unusual organisms, such as mycobacteria. The aim of the study was to determine the incidence and clinical picture of mycobacterial infection in CF children.


At least 2 acid-fast bacillus (AFB) smears and mycobacterial cultures were performed on a prospective basis on 682 sputum specimens from 106 patients during a 1-year period.


Thirty-three percent of the cultures were contaminated with other bacteria. Seven children had at least one sputum culture positive for one mycobacterium. Five children had only one positive AFB culture. Their clinical status and lung function remained stable during follow-up. Two teenagers with severe lung disease had several positive AFB smears and cultures for Mycobacterium chelonae and Mycobacterium abscessus. The isolation of M. chelonae and M. abscessus was associated with a clinical and functional decline. Clarithromycin treatment resulted in temporary improvement with the disappearance of the mycobacteria after 6 months of treatment. This prospective study shows an incidence of 2.3% for positive cultures. The prevalence was 6.6% for mycobacterial colonization but only 1.9% for mycobacterial lung disease in our pediatric population.


We recommend performing AFB smears and cultures in CF children with severe lung disease and/or during a lung exacerbation. In these patients persistence of M. chelonae or M. abscessus in sputum should lead to consideration of treatment with clarithromycin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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