Author(s): Kannaiyan K, Ragunathan L, Sakthivel S, Sasidar AR, Muralidaran
BACKGROUND: Rapidly growing Mycobacteria are increasingly recognized, nowadays as an important pathogen that can cause wide range of clinical syndromes in humans. We herein describe unrelated cases of surgical site infection caused by Rapidly growing Mycobacteria (RGM), seen during a period of 12 months.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Nineteen patients underwent operations by different surgical teams located in diverse sections of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Karnataka, India. All patients presented with painful, draining subcutaneous nodules at the infection sites. Purulent material specimens were sent to the microbiology laboratory. Gram stain and Ziehl-Neelsen staining methods were used for direct examination. Culture media included blood agar, chocolate agar, MacConkey agar, Sabourauds agar and Lowenstein-Jensen medium for Mycobacteria. Isolated microorganisms were identified and further tested for antimicrobial susceptibility by standard microbiologic procedures.
RESULTS: Mycobacterium fortuitum and M.chelonae were isolated from the purulent drainage obtained from wounds by routine microbiological techniques from all the specimens. All isolates analyzed for antimicrobial susceptibility pattern were sensitive to clarithromycin, linezolid and amikacin but were variable to ciprofloxacin, rifampicin and tobramycin.
CONCLUSION: Our case series highlights that a high level of clinical suspicion should be maintained for patients presenting with protracted soft tissue lesions with a history of trauma or surgery as these infections not only cause physical but also emotional distress that affects both the patients and the surgeon.