JOURNAL ARTICLE

A Case of False-Positive Mycobacterium tuberculosis Caused by Mycobacterium celatum

Edward Gildeh, Zaid Abdel-Rahman, Ruchira Sengupta, Laura Johnson
Case Reports in Infectious Diseases 2016, 2016: 1761923
27895946
Mycobacterium celatum is a nontuberculous mycobacterium shown to cause symptoms similar to pulmonary M. tuberculosis. Certain strains have been shown to cross-react with the probes used to detect M. tuberculosis, making this a diagnostic challenge. We present a 56-year-old gentleman who developed signs and symptoms of lung infection with computed tomography scan of the chest showing right lung apex cavitation. Serial sputum samples were positive for acid-fast bacilli and nucleic acid amplification testing identified M. tuberculosis ribosomal RNA, resulting in treatment initiation. Further testing with high performance liquid chromatography showed a pattern consistent with M. celatum. This case illustrates the potential for M. celatum to mimic M. tuberculosis in both its clinical history and laboratory testing due to the identical oligonucleotide sequence contained in both. An increasing number of case reports suggest that early reliable differentiation could reduce unnecessary treatment and public health intervention associated with misdiagnosed tuberculosis.

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