Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of rapidly growing mycobacteria isolated in Japan


Difficult-to-treat infections caused by rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM) are increasingly observed in clinical settings. However, studies on antimicrobial susceptibilities and effective treatments against RGM in Japan are limited.


We conducted susceptibility testing of potential antimicrobial agents, including tigecycline and tebipenem, against RGM. Clinical RGM isolates were collected from a university hospital in Japan between December 2010 and August 2013. They were identified using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry and the sequencing of 16S rRNA, rpoB, and hsp65 genes. The samples were utilized for susceptibility testing using 16 antimicrobials, with frozen broth microdilution panels.


Forty-two isolates were obtained: 13, Mycobacterium abscessus complex; 12, Mycobacterium chelonae; 9, Mycobacterium fortuitum; and 8, M. fortuitum group species other than M. fortuitum. Different antimicrobial susceptibility patterns were observed between RGM species. Clarithromycin-susceptible strain rates were determined to be 0, 62, and 100% for M. fortuitum, M. abscessus complex, and M. chelonae, respectively. M. abscessus complex (100%) and >80% M. chelonae isolates were non-susceptible, while 100% M. fortuitum group isolates were susceptible to moxifloxacin. Linezolid showed good activity against 77% M. abscessus complex, 89% M. fortuitum, and 100% M. chelonae isolates. Regardless of species, all tested isolates were inhibited by tigecycline at very low minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of ≤0.5 μg/mL. MICs of tebipenem, an oral carbapenem, were ≤4 μg/mL against all M. fortuitum group isolates.


Our study demonstrates the importance of correct identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing, including the testing of potential new agents, in the management of RGM infections.

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