Rapidly growing mycobacteria are capable of causing several clinical diseases in both immunosuppressed and immunocompetent individuals. A previously unidentified, rapidly growing mycobacterium was determined to be the causative agent of central line sepsis in a child with underlying metastatic hepatoblastoma. Four isolates of this mycobacterium, three from blood and one from the central venous catheter tip, were studied. Phenotypic characterization, HPLC and genetic analysis revealed that while this organism most closely resembled members of the Mycobacterium fortuitum complex and Mycobacterium senegalense, it differed from all previously described species. Phenotypic tests useful in differentiating this species from similar rapidly growing mycobacteria included: growth at 42 degrees C, hydrolysis of acetamide, utilization of citrate, production of arylsulfatase (3-d), acidification of D-mannitol and i-myo-inositol, and susceptibility to erythromycin, vancomycin and tobramycin. The name Mycobacterium septicum is proposed for this new species. The type strain has been deposited in Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen as DSM 44393T and in the American Type Culture Collection as strain ATCC 700731T.


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