Clinical significance of Mycobacterium szulgai isolates from respiratory specimens

Hongseok Yoo, Kyeongman Jeon, Su Young Kim, Byeong Ho Jeong, Hye Yun Park, Chang Seok Ki, Nam Yong Lee, Sung Jae Shin, Won Jung Koh

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The clinical relevance of Mycobacterium szulgai respiratory isolates has been controversial. The aim of this study was to determine the clinical significance of M. szulgai isolates from respiratory specimens and to identify the clinical features and outcomes of M. szulgai lung disease. Methods: We reviewed the medical records of 30 patients from whom M. szulgai was isolated between 2001 and 2010 at the Samsung Medical Center (Seoul, Korea). Results: Of the 30 patients, 13 (43%) met the American Thoracic Society diagnostic criteria and were thus likely to have true M. szulgai lung disease. Approximately 57% (17/30) of M. szulgai isolates were recovered only once from patients with other pulmonary diseases, such as pulmonary tuberculosis and other non-tuberculous mycobacterial lung diseases. The 13 patients with M. szulgai lung disease included 12 men (92%), and the median age was 63 y. Among them, 7 (54%) were current smokers and 7 (54%) had a history of previous treatment for tuberculosis. Eight (62%) patients had the fibrocavitary form of M. szulgai lung disease. Nine (69%) patients received anti-mycobacterial treatment for a median duration of 8 months. Conversion to negative cultures was documented in all patients. There was no recurrence or disease-related mortality. Conclusions: Because the isolated M. szulgai from respiratory specimens could be regarded as pathogenic in less than 50% of cases, strict adherence to the recommended diagnostic criteria of non-tuberculous mycobacterial lung disease is essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Korea Health Technology R D Project, Ministry for Health, Welfare & Family Affairs, Republic of Korea (A100027), and the Mid-career Researcher Program through an NRF grant funded by the MEST (2011-0015546).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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