Mycobacteria and rheumatic disease 4.5/5 (2)

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Mycobacteria infection in lung

Development of infection with non-tuberculous mycobacteria in the right lung lung (B). Kwon YS, - Korean J. Intern. With. (2012). CC BY-NC 3.0


Mycobacteria are a group of bacteria that cause various diseases. Some may cause tuberculosis (TB)while others are referred to as non-tuberculous mycobacteria.

Mycobacterium avium complex, MAC is the most common non-tuberculous infection with mycobacteria that attacks lungs. MAC consists of several types of mycobacteria.


Frequently infect bacteria from impure water or water vapor. Aquarium infections (both freshwater and saline) occur (aquariumgranuloma). From an infection, it takes 2-XNUM weeks before any infection breaks out (latency). Not contagious between people.

Non-tuberculous mycobacterium infection of the left shoulder joint. Murdoch DM, 2007. CC BY 2.0


  • Chronic wounds
  • Erythema nodosum-like granulomatous nodules on hands and forearms in aquarium granuloma (M. marinum)
  • Swollen, not painful lymph node on the neck (most often children)
  • Chronic joint inflammation (septic arthritis) with X-ray changes
  • Fever (38-39 degrees)
  • Night sweats
  • Pulmonary symptoms (if pneumonia)
    • Coughing with mucus formation can be blood mixed (hemoptysis)
    • Heavy breath at load
  • Stomach ache
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight Loss

Laboratory tests

  • Anemia (low "blood percentage")
  • Increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LD) in blood samples
  • Increased CRP and sedimentation rate (ESR)


  • CT examination of lungs
  • Sampling by bronchoscopy (Lung investigation) and culturing or by lymph node biopsy
  • Bacteria can in some cases be detected directly by microscopy
  • Cultivation from tissue or joint fluid
  • Blood tests for tuberculosis detection (IGRA test) are usually normal (except for M. Kansasii, M. marinum and M.zulgai)


A specialist (pulmonary, infectious) should consider whether treatment is needed and, if necessary, choose the medication.

  • Different combination with different antibiotics that should contain azithromycin or clarithromycin
  • Long-term treatment


Opportunistic infections,

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