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Mycobacterium novocastrense–associated Pulmonary and Wound Infections

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publication Date
DOI: 10.3201/eid1703.101400
  • Letter
  • Letters To The Editor
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Letters.indd LETTERS Mycobacterium novocastrense– associated Pulmonary and Wound Infections To the Editor: Although the clinical role of nontuberculous mycobacteria has long been appreciated (1), the high endemicity of tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries has overshadowed the emergence of these organisms. They are simply dismissed as being contaminants or are misidentifi ed as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (2). No report on M. novocastrense has been published since its original description in 1997 (3), except for a study in France by N’Guessan et al. (4). That study initiated speculation about the possible role of this bacterium in the etiology of human infection. We report isolation of M. novocastrense in 2 independent clinical cases—1 from tissue biopsy specimen of an apparently healthy adult, the other from bronchoalveolar lavage of an HIV-infected patient—that will cast light on the clinical relevance of this rare species. Case-patient 1, a 60-year-old woman, was referred to a hospital because of high fever, productive cough, thoracic pain, and noticeable weight loss. After her husband’s AIDS- related death in a state prison, HIV infection had been diagnosed in this case-patient. At admission, laboratory testing showed negative tuberculin skin test result, lymphopenia, an elevated C-reactive protein level of 76 mg/L, an erythrocyte sedimentation rate of 73 mm/h, a viral load of 500 copies/mL, and negative blood culture for bacterial growth. Her outpatient records indicated that she empirically was given numerous courses of antimicrobial drugs because of a provisional diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, but her condition did not improve. Subsequent hospital referral was prompted by worsening of her symptoms. With a diagnosis of suspected TB, bronchoalveolar lavage fl uid was collected. Direct microscopic examination of the specimen showed acid-fast bacilli with subsequent formation of typical colonies of a relatively rapi

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