Drug susceptibility patterns of rapidly growing mycobacteria isolated from skin and soft tissue infections in Venezuela


To our knowledge, this is the first work on drug susceptibility patterns of rapid growing mycobacteria from Latin America. The susceptibility patterns for 14 antimicrobial agents of the three most important species that cause skin infections in Venezuela were determined as follows: 63 strains belonging to Mycobacterium abscessus group, 66 strains of the Mycobacterium fortuitum group, and 13 Mycobacterium chelonae strains. The M. abscessus group strains were resistant to most antibiotics tested while M. fortuitum strains were relatively susceptible to a large number of antibiotics. We demonstrate the presence of an inducible and truncated erm(41) gene in M. abscessus group, namely M. abscessus subsp. massiliense. We show the variations in susceptibility to antimicrobial agents within and between the mycobacterial species and compare our susceptibility patterns with those reported from other countries. We conclude that the identification of mycobacteria to the species level can guide the antibiotic treatment, but that it is always important to consider drug susceptibility testing when rapidly mycobacteria are isolated.

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We acknowledge the significant contributions of laboratory staff of “Diagnósticos Especiales” at Instituto Nacional de Higiene “Rafael Rangel” and the laboratory staff of Laboratory of Tuberculosis at Instituto de Biomedicina. We also acknowledge to special contributions of María Fernanda González Barrios, Margarita Monzón García and Ismar Rivera Olivero.


This work was financially supported by the research program of the research coordination of “Gerencia de Docencia e Investigación” and “Gerencia de Diagnóstico y Vigilancia” of Instituto Nacional de Higiene “Rafael Rangel”, the FONACIT Project Number 2012001149 and FUNDAIM (Fundacion para la Investigacion en Micobacterias).

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Omaira Da Mata-Jardín was responsible for the laboratory experiments, the analysis, the interpretation of the results and drafted initial manuscript. This manuscript is part of her PhD thesis presented at the “Universidad Simón Bolívar” in Caracas, Venezuela. Alejandro Angulo participated in carrying out laboratory techniques. Margarita Rodríguez, Sandra Fernández-Figueiras and de Jacobus H Waard conceived, designed and supervised the study and provided significant guidance on the development of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Omaira Da Mata-Jardín.

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The strains in this study were isolated for routine diagnosis purpose in the years 2007 and 2012 in the “Tuberculosis Laboratory” at Insituto de Biomedicina “Dr. Jacinto Convit” and Instituto Nacional de Higiene “Rafael Rangel.” For this study, bacterial strains were coded, handled blindly without the possibility to disclose patient’s identity, identified to species level, and submitted for drug resistance testing. No clinical or personal data of the patients have been used for this publication.

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Da Mata-Jardín, O., Angulo, A., Rodríguez, M. et al. Drug susceptibility patterns of rapidly growing mycobacteria isolated from skin and soft tissue infections in Venezuela. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 39, 433–441 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-019-03740-7

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  • Rapidly growing mycobacteria
  • Venezuela
  • Antimicrobial susceptibility
  • Mycobacterium abscessus
  • Mycobacterium chelonae
  • Mycobacterium fortuitum