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August 24, 1963

Treatment of Unclassified Mycobacteria-Reply

JAMA. 1963;185(8):673. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060080068027

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The statement referred to by Dr. Vishnevsky may be misleading, a not infrequent consequence of the brevity necessary in editorial remarks. Enlarging upon this statement may dispel any confusion.

Chemotherapy has a definite place in the management of human infections caused by the unclassified mycobacteria. Although this chemotherapy is based on the same general principles utilized in the treatment of tuberculosis, the agents employed may differ. The frequent drug resistance of the unclassified mycobacteria often dictates the use of a wide variety of agents that are seldom used in the therapy of classical pulmonary tuberculosis. Treatment failures can be common, particularly in infections with the Group III (Battey strain) organisms. Prolonged use of ineffective drugs can be dangerous and unwarranted.

The statement referred to by Dr. Vishnevsky was intended to refute the occasionally voiced opinion that "the failure to properly identify the mycobacterium infecting a patient is of little consequence,

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