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March 9, 1984

Mycobacterial Cervical Lymphadenopathy: Relation of Etiologic Agents to Age

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Boston University School of Medicine; and the Maxwell Finland Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, Boston City Hospital (Drs Lai and McCabe); the Massachusetts Mycobacteria Reference Laboratory (Dr Stottmeier), Boston; and the Massachusetts State Laboratory Institute (Ms Sherman), Boston.

JAMA. 1984;251(10):1286-1288. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340340026019

Age-related differences in etiology were examined in 214 instances of mycobacterial cervical lymphadenopathy. In adults, Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated from 147 lymph nodes and "atypical" mycobacteria was isolated from seven nodes. In contrast, M tuberculosis was isolated from only five nodes from children while other mycobacteria were isolated from 55 nodes. Mycobacterium tuberculosis clearly preponderates as the cause of mycobacterial cervical adenitis in adults while other mycobacteria are the cause of most cervical adenitis in children. The preponderance of Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare in cervical adenitis in children contrasts with reports of Mycobacterium scrofulaceum as the most frequent causative agent in other geographic areas and may reflect either a change in causative agents or geographic differences. However, the finding of M tuberculosis in 8% of nodes indicates that other mycobacteria cannot be assumed to be the only cause of this disease in children.

(JAMA 1984;251:1286-1288)