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Outbreak of acupuncture-associated cutaneous Mycobacterium abscessus infections

Tang, P., Walsh, S., Murray, C., Alterman, C., Varia, M., Broukhanski, G., Chedore, P., DeKoven, J., Assaad, D., Gold, W.L., Ghazarian, D., Finkelstein, M., Pritchard, M., Yaffe, B., Jamieson, F., Henry, B. and Phillips, E. (2006) Outbreak of acupuncture-associated cutaneous Mycobacterium abscessus infections. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 10 (4). pp. 166-169.


Cutaneous atypical mycobacterial infections have been increasingly described in association with cosmetic and alternative procedures.

We report an outbreak of acupuncture-associated mycobacteriosis. Between April and December 2002, 32 patients developed cutaneous mycobacteriosis after visiting an acupuncture practice in Toronto, Canada.

Of 23 patients whose lesions were biopsied, 6 (26.1%) had culture-confirmed infection with Mycobacterium abscessus. These isolates were genetically indistinguishable by amplified fragment length polymorphism. The median incubation period was 1 month. Of 24 patients for whom clinical information was available, 23 (95.8%) had resolution of their infection. All patients developed residual scarring or hyperpigmentation.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria should be recognized as an emerging, but preventable, cause of acupuncture-associated infections.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Decker Publishing
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