Question: I am a woman of 49. My hobby is my saltwater aquarium. I recently had a bad infection from a cut in my hand. When I went to the doctor, he put me on antibiotics. A test showed that I had a marine infection from a something called a mycobacterium. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Mycobacteria are a type of germ. There are many different kinds. The most common one causes tuberculosis. Still others cause infections that are called atypical mycobacterial infections. They aren't "typical" because they don't cause tuberculosis. Treatment to resolve the nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infection is to prevent damage to tissues and organs and usually involves taking more than one antibiotic for a prolonged period of time. The length of treatment depends on the results of the lab results such as AFB smears and cultures that are used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. It is crucial to take your medication for the time period recommended by your doctor, so that the germ is fully eradicated from your system.