Recurrent : An Unlikely CauseMycobacterium avium: An Unlikely Cause Complex Infection: An Unlikely Cause

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A 64-year-old white female presented with 4 years of episodic, productive cough, fevers, chills, night sweats, and weight loss. Over this period, she had documented recurrent Mycobacterium avium complex in the bronchiolar lavage and sputum despite taking antibiotics for 2 years. Result of extensive immune evaluation including genetic testing was negative. Physical examination revealed dentures covered in a gray film. Cultures taken from the dentures grew Mycobacterium avium complex. The patient's symptoms, inflammatory markers, and chest imaging significantly improved after removing the dentures. Additionally, the sputum cultures became negative. Biofilms are known to be detrimental to public health via colonization of medical devices or naturally occurring reservoirs in the human body. This case highlights important clinical points: the necessity of taking a thorough history and physical examination, considering dentures as foreign bodies, especially if pulmonary infections recur, and the difficulty of treating biofilms short of removing the reservoir.

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