Infections Due to Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Children with Leukemia

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We reviewed the spectrum of infections due to nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in children with leukemia. Three children acquired such infections. One patient developed pneumonia after the cessation of chemotherapy whenMycobacterium xenopiwas identified in his lung biopsy specimen. He required 2 years of treatment with antituberculous agents and clarithromycin. Cultures of central and peripheral blood specimens from two patients yieldedMycobacterium fortuitumandMycobacterium chelonae,respectively. Broviac catheters were likely the source of infection. Removal of the catheters and antibiotic treatment resulted in cure. Central venous catheters in leukemic children are potential sources of infection. For febrile neutropenic children with leukemia who do not respond to antibiotic therapy, cultures positive for diphtheroids or negative routine bacterial and fungal cultures should raise a suspicion for infections due to NTM. Systemic infections may require up to 2 years of therapy. Removal of the infected catheters during persistent or recurrent infections is necessary for control of the infection.

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