Comparative Study
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Clinical disease, drug susceptibility, and biochemical patterns of the unnamed third biovariant complex of Mycobacterium fortuitum.

Previous studies of Mycobacterium fortuitum identified isolates that did not fit its two recognized biovariants. Eighty-five clinical isolates of this group, the "third biovariant complex", were evaluated. They represented 16% of 410 isolates of M. fortuitum submitted to a Texas laboratory and 22% of 45 isolates in Queensland, Australia. Most infections (76%) involved skin, soft tissue, or bone and occurred after metal puncture wounds or open fractures. Isolates differed from biovar fortuitum in resistance to pipemidic acid and use of mannitol and inositol as carbon sources. Two subgroups were present, and examples were deposited in the American Type Culture Collection. Isolates were resistant to doxycycline and one-third were resistant to cefoxitin. All were susceptible to amikacin, ciprofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole, and imipenem. Surgical debridement combined with drug therapy based on in vitro susceptibilities resulted in cures of cutaneous disease or osteomyelitis. DNA homology studies are needed to determine the taxonomic status of these organisms.

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