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Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare: A Cause of Disseminated Life-Threatening Infection in Homosexuals and Drug Abusers

JEFFREY B. GREENE, M.D.; GURDIP S. SIDHU, M.D.; SHARON LEWIN, M.D.; JEROME F. LEVINE, M.D.; HENRY MASUR, M.D.; MICHAEL S. SIMBERKOFF, M.D.; PETER NICHOLAS, M.D.; ROBERT C. GOOD, Ph.D.; SUSAN B. ZOLLA-PAZNER, Ph.D.; ALAN A. POLLOCK, M.D.; MICHAEL L. TAPPER, M.D.; and ROBERT S. HOLZMAN, M.D.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Jeffrey B. Greene, M.D.; Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue; New York, NY 10016.


New York and Elmhurst, New York; and Atlanta, Georgia


Ann Intern Med. 1982;97(4):539-546. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-97-4-539
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Five men developed disseminated infection with Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare. These patients all lived in the New York City area and presented with their illnesses between January 1981 and September 1981; four were homosexual and one was an intravenous drug abuser. Four patients died. All five patients had defects in the cell-mediated immune response. The infections were characterized histopathologically by poor or absent granulomatous tissue reaction. Clinical isolates of M. avium-intracellulare from all five patients agglutinated with type 8 antisera. The organisms were resistant to most commonly used antimycobacterial drugs. The spectrum of opportunistic infections among populations of homosexuals and drug abusers should be expanded to include disseminated disease due to M. avium-intracellulare.

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