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Mycobacterium avium subsp. intracellulare
Mycobacterium avium subsp. intracellulare bacteria in lymph tissue.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Order: Actinomycetales
Family: Mycobacteriaceae
Genus: Mycobacterium
Species: M. avium
Subspecies: M. a. intracellulare

Mycobacterium avium intracellulare is an atypical mycobacterial infection which can occur in the later stages of AIDS. It can also affect women who do not have AIDS and usually first presents as a persistent cough. Cases in elderly men has however been on the increase recently. It is normally treated with a series of 3 antibiotics for a period of at least 6 months.

It is a saprotrophic organism that is present in soil and water, entry is usually via the GI tract but also can be via the lungs.

It causes fevers, diarrhoea, malabsorption and anorexia and it can disseminate to the bone marrow. Therapy for MAI is disappointing as it is typically resistant to standard mycobacterial therapies.

AIDS patients are given macrolide antibiotics such as Azithromycin for prophylactic treatment.

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