Mycobacterium genavense in AIDS patients, report of 24 cases in Italy and review of the literature

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Mycobacterium genavense is a frequently missed agent of disseminated disease in AIDS patients. The increasing frequency with which such organism is being isolated in Italy suggested a comparison of local survey with data reported in literature. Isolates presumed to belong to the species M. genavense were centralized and identified by means of genomic sequencing and/or HPLC analysis of cell wall mycolic acids; clinical data were obtained from relevant patients' record and collected using a proper questionnaire. In 24 cases in which this organism has been isolated in Italy M. genavense was grown, prevalently from blood, in liquid medium after an average of six weeks of incubation. In overwhelming majority, patients were males, presented other opportunistic diseases and were characterized by very low CD+4counts (average 23/μl); most frequent symptoms were fever, anemia and weight loss. All but two patients, who died before the mycobacterial infection was diagnosed, were treated with at least three drugs; the mean survival was close to one year. A review of literature reports revealed a wide overlapping of clinical and microbiological features.

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