Mycobacteria are a type of germ. There are many different kinds. The most common one causes tuberculosis. Another one causes leprosy. Still others cause infections that are called atypical mycobacterial infections. They aren't "typical" because they don't cause tuberculosis. But they can still harm people, especially people with other problems that affect their immunity, such as AIDS.
Sometimes you can have these infections with no symptoms at all. At other times, they can cause lung symptoms similar to tuberculosis:
- Weight loss
- Coughing up blood or mucus
- Weakness or fatigue
- Fever and chills
- Night sweats
- Lack of appetite and weight loss
Medicines can treat these infections, but often more than one is needed to cure the infection.
- Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Infections: Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors (American Lung Association)
Diagnosis and Tests
- AFB (Acid-Fast Bacillus) Smear and Culture (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
- Buruli Ulcer (Mycobacterium ulcerans Infection) (World Health Organization) Also in Spanish
- Leprosy (American Academy of Family Physicians)
- Leprosy (Hansen's Disease) (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
- Mycobacterium abscessus in Healthcare Settings (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) (New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center) Also in Spanish
- National Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) Program (Health Resources and Services Administration)
- Genetics Home Reference: leprosy (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Leprosy (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Mycobacterium Infections (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The complexities and challenges of preventing and treating nontuberculous mycobacterial diseases.
- Article: Non-tuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary infections.
- Article: The importance of early diagnosis of Mycobacterium abscessus complex in patients...
- Mycobacterial Infections -- see more articles