Atypical mycobacterial spondylitis in HIV-negative patients identified by genotyping

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Non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections pose a significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. We report two cases of such infection of the spine in HIV-negative patients who presented with deformity and neurological deficit. The histopathological features in both specimens were diagnostic of tuberculosis. The isolates were identified as Mycobacterium intracellulare and M. fortuitum by genotyping (MicroSeq 16S rDNA Full Gene assay) and as M. tuberculosis and a mycobacterium other than tuberculosis, respectively, by culture. There is a growing need for molecular diagnostic tools that can differentiate accurately between M. tuberculosis and atypical mycobacteria, especially in regions of the developing world which are experiencing an increase in non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections.

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