Mycobacterium malmoense is a type of fast-growing bacteria (nontuberculous mycobacterium (NTM)). This bacterium is more commonly found in the United Kingdom and northern Europe, and is rarely found in the United States. It is found in the environment, typically in dirt and water. Older individuals, individuals with suppressed immune systems, and those who have preexisting lung disease are at highest risk of infection.
Most commonly, a mycobacterium malmoense infection affects the lungs. However, this infection can also affect the skin, soft-tissue, and lymph nodes, causing lymphadenitis. The lymph nodes function to filter fluid in the immune system. Symptoms of lung infection include cough, difficulty breathing, pain or discomfort, weight loss, and production of a thick fluid (sputum) with coughing. Skin infections usually manifest as sores that do not heal or spread. General symptoms of infection are fever, tiredness, and weight loss.
Mycobacterium malmoense infection can be diagnosed using a sputum sample, which involves coughing deeply to expel the sputum, or a swab taken from the affected tissue. A swab from the infected area will be grown (cultured) to look for the presence of mycobacterium malmoense. This is important in order to eliminate fungus as a possible cause of infection, especially if the individual has respiratory symptoms. A confirmed infection is usually treated with antibiotics. If you have been diagnosed with a mycobacterium malmoense infection, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.