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December 1983

Mycobacterial Diseases

Author Affiliations

New Orleans

Arch Intern Med. 1983;143(12):2333. doi:10.1001/archinte.1983.00350120135029

To the Editor.  —In the July Archives (1983;143:1439-1441) Bass and Hawkins presented a well-organized review of the treatment of nontuberculous mycobacterial diseases. I would like to make an addition to this concerning two strains of mycobacteria that were not mentioned (Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium szulgai) yet have been reported to have clinical implications.Mycobacterium bovis causes tuberculosis in cattle and can spread to humans via contaminated milk products. In the early 20th century it was estimated that a significant percentage of human deaths by tuberculosis were caused by this strain. Pasteurization of milk has greatly reduced the incidence of infection, yet occasional cases have still been reported in the literature.1-3 The bacteria have been isolated from sputum and extrapulmonary sites such as genitourinary and lymphadenitis of bone and joint disease. Man-to-man transmission of this strain were recognized and reported. Current forms of chemotherapy include isoniazid, streptomycin, and aminosalicylic acid.