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August 1969

Outbreak of Injection Abscesses Due to Mycobacterium abscessus

Author Affiliations

County Durham, England; FCPath, London; County Durham, England; London

From the Hartlepool General Hospital and Sunderland Royal Infirmary, County Durham, England (Dr. Inman); the Department of Pathology, St. Mary's Hospital, London (Dr. Beck); the Laboratory Service, Hartlepool, County Durham, England (Mr. Brown); and the Department of Bacteriology, Guy's Hospital Medical School, London (Dr. Stanford).

Arch Dermatol. 1969;100(2):141-147. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610260017003

Over a period of 14 months 12 patients were seen with multiple abscesses of their arms following histamine injections. From three of these cases a fast growing nonpigmented Mycobacterium was isolated. This was identified by detailed bacteriological and serological investigations as Mycobacterium abscessus, an organism different in several respects from M fortuitum. The difficulties in distinguishing between these two species are stressed.

It is thought that the outbreak was caused by injection of a batch of histamine solution which had become infected with this organism.

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