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How common is Mycobacterium marinum?

Although rare, infections can occur worldwide, most commonly in individuals with occupational and recreational exposure to fresh or saltwater. In the United States, infections caused by M. marinum are rare. The infection is very rare in children and is typically a disease of adults, although any person, regardless of age, may become infected.

Return to Mycobacterium Marinum

See what others are saying

Comment from: Bill, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: September 26

I have been diagnosed as having Mycobacterium marinum. I contracted it in October 2013 while fishing, cleaning fish or, my boat. In addition, I had a bad fall in the boat whereby landing hard on my elbow and shoulder. Several days later, a large bump appeared on the underside of my forearm which later, broke down into multiple granulomas. I went to my doctor primarily because of the pain I was experiencing in both my shoulder and elbow. I was injected with a steroid shot for that purpose which was a very normal treatment option. Little did anyone know! I was told that my bursar might have to be operated on if the pain did not get better but, I made the decision to wait since hunting season was about to kick off and I didn't want anything preventing that enjoyment. Again, little did anyone know what really was going on. The story continues but, I am currently one week post-operation having had my fourth debridement of the left elbow. It wasn't until after my second surgery that my infection came back positive for AFB (acid-fast bacillus), and ultimately cultured out to be M. marinum. I have taken rifampin with clarithromycin, doxycycline and now, a double dose of Bactrim DS. I hope I am through the debridement process and on the way to be healed. While very rare, the infection has moved into the tip of my elbow. Currently awaiting tissue results. I understand that infection in the bone makes everything a little harder. Best of luck to anyone who gets this stuff.

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Comment from: Terry, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 08

I was surf fishing in Melbourne, Florida and later noticed a very small cut on my right leg below the knee, origin unknown. Despite scrubbing with soap and water, alcohol pads and followed by Neosporin, the injury would not heal. Eight days later the wound was the size of a pea with a 1 inch red ring around it. Nine days later it was the size of a dime with a 2 inch ring. Ten days later it was painful and the size of a nickel with a 3 inch ring. I went to the hospital. The wound was cleaned. Originally it was diagnosed as a strep infection and treated with three different IV antibiotics twice daily with little improvement. Three days later infectious disease doctor diagnosed it as Mycobacterium marinum and prescribed a tetracycline orally. I went home, redness diminished, wound healing.

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Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 06

I've been suffering with very sore hands, mainly in the thumb area for the last three years. I've been researching like crazy. I am not sure that I have this infection but a lot of the listed factors do add up. Three years ago, I developed a rash on top of both hands where the thumb and fore finger meet. I previously filed the nails on my dog and ran the edges on my hands to make sure that they were nicely smooth so as to prevent scratching. I didn't think much of it then. I also have a large above ground swimming pool. We also spend time at a local lake with our boat. We sometimes swim in the lake. I had the same itchy rash for two years. This last summer and fall I had no rash, but instead I had severe pain in my hands in the same exact area that the rash was in the previous two years. This all seems weird but at the same time, highly likely that it could be this mycobacterium marinum. I have not been diagnosed. The pain is very debilitating.

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