Definition of Mycobacterium chelonae

Mycobacterium chelonae: A type of bacteria related to that which causes chronic illness and which is commonly found in soil and sometimes in sputum. M. chelonae is one of a group of rapidly growing mycobacteria that can cause postoperative wound infections in soft tissue and bone in otherwise healthy persons and disseminated disease in people with impaired immune function. Soft-tissue infections caused by M. chelonae typically manifest initially as slightly tender nodules with scant drainage and minimal surrounding cellulitis; systemic manifestations often are absent. The indolent course typical of these infections, together with a low index of suspicion and failure to request or perform the appropriate diagnostic tests can make timely diagnosis of M. chelonae infections difficult.


Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

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