Mycobacterium kansasii


  • Mycobacterial species
  • Slow grower (2-6 weeks for positive with liquid media), photochromogen.
    • AFB staining may show beaded characteristics [Fig].
  • DNA analysis suggests there may be 5-7 subspecies.
    • Subtype I appears to be responsible for most human infection.
    • M. tuberculosis and M. kansasii can occur together: cultures positive for M. kansasii should be incubated for prolonged periods to exclude M. tuberculosis, which grows slightly slower than M. kansasii.
  • Reservoir appears to be water (tap water, standing water, saltwater) with likely infection via aerosol.
  • No human-to-human or animal-to-human transmission (with the exception of unusual case reports)

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Last updated: September 27, 2019