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August 1966

Unusual Acid-Fast Bacteria in Panniculitis

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology (Dr. Cantwell and Dr. Wilson) and the Department of Bacteriology, tuberculosis section (Mrs. Craggs), Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, Calif, and Department of Microbiology, California State College at Long Beach (Dr. Swatek).

Arch Dermatol. 1966;94(2):161-167. doi:10.1001/archderm.1966.01600260053006

The clinician is frequently unable to determine the cause of panniculitis in individual cases. Occasionally the process is suspected of being tuberculous, but this is difficult to prove. In this study, acid-fast bacteria, which were not identified as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, were found in association with inflammatory subcutaneous disorders.

Acid-fast bacilli were demonstrated initially in the lesions of four patients with panniculitis when smears prepared from biopsy material were examined. Acid-fast organisms were cultured from each specimen and were identified as unusual mycobacteria in three cases, and Streptomyces coelicolor in the remaining case. The search for such microorganisms is continuing as this may help to clarify the cause of certain inflammatory subcutaneous disorders.

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