Mycobacterium marinum: A brief update for clinical purposes.
Mycobacterium marinum (M. marinum) is a free-living, slow grower nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), strictly related to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that causes disease in fresh and saltwater fish and it is one of the causes of extra-pulmonary mycobacterial infections, ranging in human from simple cutaneous lesions to disseminated forms in immunocompromised hosts. The first human cases of M. marinum infection were reported from skin lesions of swimmers in a contaminated pool, in 1951, in Sweden by Norden and Linell. Two conditions are required to develop M. marinum infection: (1) skin solution of continuity and (2) exposure to the contaminated water or direct contact with fish or shellfish. The so-called "fish-tank granuloma", the most frequent cutaneous manifestation of M. marinum infection, is characterized by a single papulonodular, verrucose and/or ulcerated granulomatous lesion in the inoculum site. Careful patient's history collection, high clinical suspicion and appropriate sample (e.g. cutaneous biopsy) for microbiological culture are crucial for a timely diagnosis. The treatment is not standardized yet and relies on administration of two active antimycobacterial agents, always guided by antimicrobial susceptibility test on culture, with macrolides and rifampin as pivotal drugs, as well as prompt surgery when feasible. In this narrative review, we provide to Clinicians an updated report of epidemiology, microbiological characteristics, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of M. marinum infection.
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