Mycobacterium marinum

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • 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.

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.

REFERENCE:

Mazumder, Shirin A. "Mycobacterium marinum." Medscape.com. Oct. 7, 2015. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/223363-overview>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2016

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