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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 205-212

Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection of the musculoskeletal system in immunocompetent hosts

1 Department of Orthopaedics, Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Center, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Infectious Diseases, Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Center, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Microbiology, Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Center, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Pathology, Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research Center, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Manit K Gundavda
B/204, Hilton CHS, Shastri Nagar, Andheri West, Mumbai - 400 053, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.201718

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Background: Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) were considered saprophytic organisms for many years but now are recognized as human pathogens. Although humans are routinely exposed to NTM, the rate of clinical infection is low. Such infections usually occur in the elderly and in patients who are immunocompromised. However, there has been an increasing incidence in recent years of infections in immunocompetent hosts. NTM infections in immunocompetent individuals are secondary to direct inoculation either contamination from surgical procedures or penetrating injuries rather than hematogenous dissemination. Clinically and on histopathology, musculoskeletal infections caused by NTM resemble those caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis but are mostly resistant to routine antituberculosis medicines. Materials and Methods: Six cases of NTM infection in immunocompetent hosts presenting to the department from 2004 to 2015 were included in study. Of which two cases (one patella and one humerus) of infection were following an open wound due to trauma while two cases (one hip and one shoulder) of infection were by inoculation following an intraarticular injection for arthrogram of the joint, one case was infection following arthroscopy of knee joint and one case (calcaneum) was infection following local injection for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. All patients underwent inaging and tissue diagnosis with samples being sent for culture, staining, and histopathology. Results: Clinical suspicion of NTM inoculation led to the correct diagnosis (four cases with culture positive and two cases with histopathological diagnosis). There treatment protocol for extrapulmonary NTM infection was radical surgical debridement and medical management based on drug sensitivity testing in culture positive cases. At a mean follow up of 3 years (range1–9 years) all patients had total remission and excellent results. Conclusions: Whenever a case of chronic granulomatous infection is encountered that does not respond to standard anti-tuberculous treatment, with a history of open trauma, surgical intervention, or injection as shown in this study, a possible NTM infection should be considered and managed appropriately.

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