Atypical mycobacterial infections are frequently associated with chronic cervical lymphadenopathy, particularly in children between 1 and 5 years of age. The treatment of choice is regarded to be "optimal" surgical treatment, which often requires wide excision of affected lymph nodes. Although surgical excision is a reliable treatment, it has obvious drawbacks. Because branches of the peripheral facial nerve may be intimately involved in the inflammatory reaction, damage is a potential complication. In addition, keloid scars and wound breakdown are possible complications. Successful drug treatment is hampered by poor susceptibility of the Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare and Mycobacterium scrofulaceum strains to antimicrobial drugs. Reports of results with clarithromycin in the treatment of patients with AIDS who are infected with the M avium complex, however, are promising. The cases of 2 children with infections caused by the M avium complex, resulting in preauricular and cervical lymphadenitis, are described. Treatment with clarithromycin as a monotherapy led to complete healing without recurrence.