Mycobacterium marinum Infection: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/6/2021

Mycobacterium marinum is a slow-growing atypical Mycobacterium that is commonly found in bodies of fresh or saltwater in many parts of the world. The organism can cause skin infections following skin exposure to the bacteria through a skin cut or scrape. Skin infections with Mycobacterium marinum in humans are relatively uncommon and are usually acquired from contact with contents of aquariums or fish.

Signs and symptoms of Mycobacterium marinum infection include a small red bump or non-healing red sore on the skin. The bump usually occurs a few weeks after a history of exposure to non-chlorinated water. The arms are the most common site of infection. Other associated symptoms and signs can include

Cause of a Mycobacterium marinum Infection

Skin infections with Mycobacterium marinum occur due to exposure to the bacteria through a scrape or skin cut.

Other mycobacterium marinum infection symptoms and signs

  • Fever or Chills in People with Compromised Immune Systems
  • Itch
  • Multiple Red Bumps in a Line Pattern
  • Pain
  • Small Red Bump or Non-Healing Red Sore on the Skin


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.