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Disease Profile

Mycobacterium fortuitum

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

M. Fortuitum; Mycobacterium Fortuitum infection


Bacterial infections


Mycobacterium fortuitum is a bacteria that can cause infections of many areas of the body including the skin, lymph nodes, and joints. It belongs to a group of bacteria, known as nontuberculous mycobacterium, as it is different from the Mycobacterium that causes tuberculosis. It can be found in natural and processed water, sewage, and dirt.[1][2]

Healthy people usually do not get Mycobacterium fortuitum infections; however, they may occur after surgery, in people with an impaired immune system, or after exposure to a contaminated medical device (such as an endoscope). It is uncommon for this condition to cause lung disease, but Mycobacterium fortuitum infection can lead to skin disease, osteomyelitis (inflammation of the bone), joint infections, and eye disease. The signs and symptoms of infection differ depending on the infection site. Treatment also depends on the site of the infection, but usually includes prolonged use of antibiotics.[1][3]


The treatment for an infection with Mycobacterium fortuitum differs depending on the area of the body affected. Treatment almost always includes prolonged use of at least two antibiotics, such as amikacin, cefoxitin, and ciprofloxacin. There are no guidelines regarding the length of time in which medication should be used; however, treatment usually lasts for several months and should continue until the signs and symptoms of infection have resolved.

Other treatment depending on the area and cause of the infection may include surgery to remove damaged tissue from infected wounds and removal of implanted medical devices (such an implantable cardioverter defibrillator).[1]


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.

      In-Depth Information

      • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Mycobacterium fortuitum. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


        1. Fritz JM. Mycobacterium Fortuitum. Medscape. October 5, 2015; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/222918.
        2. Sethi S, Arora S, Gupta V, Kumar S. Cutaneous Mycobacterium fortuitum Infection: Successfully Treated with Amikacin and Ofloxacin Combination. Indian J Dermatol.. July-August 2014; 59(4):383-384. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103276/.
        3. Kothavade RJ, Dhurat RS, Mishra SN, Kothavade UR. Clinical and laboratory aspects of the diagnosis and management of cutaneous and subcutaneous infections caused by rapidly growing mycobacteria. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. February 2013; 32(2):161-188. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23139042.

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