Mycobacterium marinum

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Alai is an actively practicing medical and surgical dermatologist in south Orange County, California. She has been a professor of dermatology and family medicine at the University of California, Irvine since 2000. She is U.S. board-certified in dermatology, a 10-year-certified fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, and Fellow of the American Society of Mohs Surgery.

  • Medical Editor: Frederick Hecht, MD, FAAP, FACMG
    Frederick Hecht, MD, FAAP, FACMG

    Frederick Hecht, MD, FAAP, FACMG

    Frederick Hecht, MD, lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Hecht is a Pediatrician and Medical Geneticist and is certified by both the American Boards of Pediatrics and Medical Genetics. Dr. Hecht was born and raised in Baltimore and attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. and the Sorbonne at the University of Paris receiving his BA degree cum laude with distinction from Dartmouth.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What else could it be?

Other conditions may mimic or be confused with M. marinum infections. Possible other diagnoses include common things like bug bites, spider bites, foreign body granuloma, bacterial infections like staph or E. coli, fungal infections, tumors, and others. Additional diagnoses include cowpox infection, leishmaniasis, leprosy, sarcoidosis, and sporotrichosis. More advanced cases may be mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis, gout, traumatic tendon injury, deep fungal infections, or cancer.

How can I prevent this infection?

The following steps may help to protect you from contracting an infection with M. marinum:

  • Avoid fresh or saltwater activities if there are open cuts, scrapes, or sores on your skin, especially in bodies of water where this bacterium is known to exist.
  • If you have a weakened immune system, you can reduce the risk of infection by carefully covering cuts, scrapes, or sores during fresh or saltwater activities and while cleaning fish tanks or handling, cleaning, or processing fish.
  • Wear heavy gloves (leather or heavy cotton) while cleaning or processing fish, especially fish with sharp spines that may cause cuts, scratches, or sores to the hands and skin. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after fish processing or use a waterless cleanser.
  • Wear waterproof gloves while cleaning home aquariums or fish tanks. Wash hands and forearms thoroughly with soap and running water after cleaning the tank, even if gloves were worn.
  • Ensure regular and adequate chlorination of swimming pools to kill any bacteria that may be present.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease
REFERENCE:
"Treatment of Mycobacterium marinum cutaneous infections" Rallis E, Koumantaki-Mathioudaki E. Army General Hospital, Department of Dermatology National Institutes of Health

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/15/2015

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