Current Methods for Rapid Detection and Identification of Mycobacteria

  • R. C. Good


The character of mycobacterial diseases has remained basically unchanged throughout the years, but our perceptions of them have begun to change significantly, particularly in the past decade. Two diseases, tuberculosis and leprosy, are the most important because they create the greatest problems in public health and result in prolonged suffering, and in some cases social stigma and ostracism. The etiologic agents, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. Leprae, respectively, are aptly named to identify the associated diseases, but the species differ in many respects, particularly in the ability to grow on artificial laboratory media. Therefore, laboratory diagnostic procedures have not been similar for the two diseases, but this may be changing. Laboratory studies have focused on development of rapid methods for diagnosis and determination of drug susceptibility, but there are many areas of the world where diagnostic procedures are still dependent on visualization of acid-fast bacilli, if a microscope is available. In other areas of the world, patterns of mycobacterial disease are changing markedly under the impact of immunosuppression following chemotherapy for various conditions or infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), even before the development of frank signs of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).


Mycobacterium Avium Complex Tuberculous Meningitis Mycolic Acid Mycobacterium Species Mycobacterial Disease 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. Good
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Bacterial Diseases, Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease ControlRespiratory Diseases BranchAtlantaUSA

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