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Article
September 1961

Atypical Acid-Fast Organism Infection of the Skin

Author Affiliations

FRANCES WHITCOMB HOUSTON, TEXAS

From the Departments of Dermatology and Pathology, Baylor University College of Medicine, and the Veterans Administration Hospital.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;84(3):386-391. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580150032005
Abstract

At the 15th International Tuberculosis Conference1 held in Istanbul in September, 1959, considerable emphasis was placed on the occurrence of numerous cases of atypical acid-fast bacillus infections. Their emergence as a world-wide problem of increasing prevalence was recognized. The term "atypical," a title which implies variation from the "typical," was employed as an expedient, and it was hoped that this term will eventually be replaced by specific organism identification. Actually, these organisms are not unusual or atypical variations of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but they are acid-fast bacilli, isolated from human sources, of undetermined taxonomic position which cannot be identified as a human or bovine variety of the tubercle bacillus. These organisms differ in many respects from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and increased efforts toward complete taxonomy and species identification are clearly indicated. It was concluded that the present level of knowledge in this field is substantially incomplete so as to preclude the

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