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Bacteremia Due to Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

ABE M. MACHER, M.D.; JOSEPH A. KOVACS, M.D.; VEE GILL, Ph.D.; GLENN D. ROBERTS, Ph.D.; JOHN AMES, B.S.; CHOONG H. PARK, Ph.D.; STEPHEN STRAUS, M.D.; H. CLIFFORD LANE, M.D.; JOSEPH E. PARRILLO, M.D.; ANTHONY S. FAUCI, M.D.; and HENRY MASUR, M.D.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Abe M. Macher, M.D.; Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD 20205.


Bethesda, Maryland; Rochester, Minnesota; and Falls Church, Virginia


Ann Intern Med. 1983;99(6):782-785. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-99-6-782
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The presence of Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare has frequently been demonstrated in tissue specimens from patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The importance of this mycobacterium as a cause of constitutional symptoms and organ dysfunction has been unclear, however, because of the sparse inflammatory response evoked and the frequent concurrence of other pathogenic organisms. We detected M. avium-intracellulare in blood samples from eight patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, seven of whom had a previously recognized M. avium-intracellulare infection. Blood cultures were positive on 1 to 14 occasions over 135 days using the Dupont isolator system or the Bactec 12B medium system. Cultures were positive within 14 to 51 or 7 to 14 days with the respective techniques. The ability to rapidly isolate M. avium-intracellulare from blood may provide a useful diagnostic technique for detecting disseminated mycobacterial disease in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome as well as in other patient populations. This technique may also be useful for assessing the efficacy of drug therapy.

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