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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Mycobacterium Malmoense

Other Names for this Disease
  • M. Malmoense
  • Mycobacterium Malmoense infection
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Your Question

My child has this. I am looking for as much information as I can get. How does one get it, does it transfer to others, how long does it take to grow, treatment, etc.?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is mycobacterium malmoense?

Mycobacterium malmoense (M. malmoense) is a bacterium naturally found in the environment, such as in wet soil, house dust, water, dairy products, domestic and wild animals, food, and human waste.[1][2] M. malmoense infections most often occur in adults with lung disease, and manifests as a lung infection.[3][4] Skin and tissue infections with M. malmoense have also been described.[1] In young children, M. Malmoense may cause an infection of lymphnodes in the neck (i.e., cervical lymphadenitis).[1][4]
Last updated: 9/5/2013

How are mycobacterium malmoense infections contracted?

M. Malmoense infection may be acquired by breathing in or ingesting the bacteria, or through trauma, such as an injury or surgical incision.[2] People who have suppressed immune systems are at an increased risk for developing signs and symptoms from these infections.[2]
Last updated: 9/5/2013

What are the signs and symptoms of mycobacterium malmoense infection?

Many cases of M. malmoense infection cause no symptoms, and as a result go unrecognized.[3] M. malmoense infections in adults often present as lung infections with or without fever. In children, M. malmoense infections can present as a single sided, non-tender, enlarging, neck mass. The mass may be violet in color and often does not respond to conventional antibiotic therapy.[4] M. malmoense infection can also cause skin lesions or abscesses.[4]
Last updated: 9/5/2013

How might cervical lymphadenitis due to a mycobacterium malmoense infection be treated?

Currently there is not a well established guideline for treatment of cervical lymphadenitis due to M. malmoense infection. Treatment options may include, early excision, antimicrobial drug therapy, cervical drainage, combination therapy (e.g., antimicrobial drug therapy and surgical excision), or observation alone.[3]  We strongly recommend that you discus your child's treatment options with his or her healthcare provider.
Last updated: 9/5/2013

What is the typical outlook for children with mycobacterium malmoense infection?

Overall outlook for children with cervical lymphadenitis is typically good.[3] Signs and symptoms of M. malmoense infections rage from asymptomatic (no symptoms) to long lasting draining abscesses. Most infections resolve within six months, however cases of prolonged infections (>1 year) have been described.[3] Some infections resolve much quicker, such as within one week.[4] Complications are uncommon, but may include scarring and facial nerve injury.[4]
Last updated: 9/5/2013

  • Scheinfeld NS. Atypical mycobacterial diseases. MedScape. Feb 11, 2013; Accessed 9/5/2013.
  • Bhambri S, Bhambri A, Del Rosso JQ. Atypical mycobacterial cutaneous infections. Dermatol Clin. 2009 Jan;27(1):63-73; Accessed 9/5/2013.
  • Claesson G et al.,. Nerve dysfunction following surgical treatment of cervical non-tuberculous mycobacterial lymphadenitis in children. Acta pædiatrica. 2011;100(2):299-302 ;
  • El-Maaytah M, Shah P, Jerjes W, Upile T, Ayliffe P. Cervical lymphadenitis due to Mycobacterium malmoense. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2010 Jul;68(7):1690-4. ; Accessed 9/5/2013.