Mycobacterium avium bacterium, illustration

Mycobacterium avium bacterium, illustration

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Credit: KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mycobacterium avium, computer illustration. This rod-shaped bacterium causes avian tuberculosis and MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex) in humans, most often as a secondary infection to AIDS (autoimmune deficiency syndrome). MAC, also called Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex, is a microbial complex of two Mycobacterium species, Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellulare. It causes Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare infection (MAI). MAC can cause fevers, diarrhoea, malabsorption, as well as loss of appetite and weight loss, and can disseminate to the bone marrow. MAI is typically resistant to standard mycobacterial therapies and is treated with a series of three antibiotics for a period of at least six months. Mycobacterium avium and M. intracellulare are present in soil and water.

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