Mycobacterium avium Complex Disease

  • Michael R. Holt
  • Charles L. DaleyEmail author
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) comprises at least ten named species of environmental mycobacteria that exhibit ecological and geographic diversity. The prominent human pathogens are M. avium, M. intracellulare, and M. chimaera. MAC virulence factors and host susceptibility contribute to pathogenesis. The diagnosis of pulmonary disease requires satisfaction of clinical, microbiologic, and radiographic criteria. Disseminated and localized extrapulmonary diseases are diagnosed by culture of blood or tissue. Treatment of all forms of MAC disease involves protracted administration of multiple antibiotics, including a macrolide. This therapeutic approach achieves initial success in patients with macrolide-susceptible, treatment-naïve pulmonary disease, but microbiologic recurrence is common. Inadequate treatment regimens increase the risk of emergent macrolide resistance which carries a poor prognosis. Parenteral therapy and surgical resection are beneficial for certain forms of pulmonary and extrapulmonary disease. Prophylaxis against MAC infection is strongly recommended in HIV-AIDS.


Lung diseases Macrolide Mycobacterium avium complex Diagnosis Mycobacterium intracellulare Mycobacterium chimaera Surgical procedures, operative HIV Epidemiology Virulence 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Mycobacterial and Respiratory InfectionsNational Jewish HealthDenverUSA

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