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Case Report: Multiple Scalp Abscesses due to Mycobacterium abscessus Infection Following Triamcinolone Injection in an Immunocompetent Person

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  • 1 Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India;
  • | 2 Department of Dermatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India;
  • | 3 Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
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ABSTRACT.

Mycobacterium abscessus complex is a group of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). The NTM may involve skin, soft tissue, and other organs like the eye and central nervous system. Clinically may mimic multidrug resistance. Here, we present a case of a 29‐year man with a history of multiple scalp swellings with mild symptoms. He had undergone multiple triamcinolone acetonide injections on his scalp to stop hair fall and baldness 2 months prior. As there was a history of injections on the scalp and lesions associated with minimal symptoms, we suspected the possibility of NTM and fungal infections. As a part of treatment and obtaining a sample for investigation, lesions were aspirated with a needle. The swellings contained gelatinous material, which was sent for microscopic examination, and revealed the presence of acid‐fast bacilli (AFB). Xpert MTB/RIF assay was negative for mycobacteria (MTB complex), but culture revealed NTM was identified as M. abscessus complex by line probe assay. Based on the diagnosis, the patient was treated with an injection of amikacin, moxifloxacin, and azithromycin. The lesions improved. The patient has completed over a year of follow-up with no recurrence noted. Mycobacterium abscessus, a rapidly growing NTM, has been occasionally reported to cause cutaneous soft tissue infection when injected with nonsterile medicine or needles. Therefore, a high index of suspicion for NTM infection is warranted in patients with cutaneous scalp abscess following scalp injections for hair loss.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Prasanta Raghab Mohapatra, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, Sijua, PO-Dumduma, Bhubaneswar-751019, Odisha, India. E-mail: prmohapatra@hotmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Monalisa Mohanty and Baijayantimala Mishra, Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, E-mails: monalisamohanty049@gmail.com and bm_mishra@hotmail.com. Chandra Sekhar Sirka, Department of Dermatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, E-mail: dermat_chandra@aiimsbhubaneswar.edu.in. Prasanta Raghab Mohapatra, Department of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, E-mail: prmohapatra@hotmail.com.

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