D van Soolingen, et al., 1997
Mycobacterium canetti, a novel pathogenic taxon of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, was described in 1997 by D van Soolingen, et al. in International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, 47, 1236-1245. This strain was isolated from a 2-year-old Somali patient with lymphadenitis. It did not differ from Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the biochemical tests and in its 16S rRNA sequence, but formed smooth and shiny colonies, which is highly exceptional for this species. Additionally it had shorter generation time than clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis and presented a unique, characteristic phenolic glycolipid and lipo-oligosaccharide. This compound was observed in a smooth isolate of M. tuberculosis described in a farmer by the French microbiologist Georges Canetti from which the organism has been named. In 1998, Pfyffer described abdominal lymphatic TB in a 56-year-old Swiss man who lived in Kenya with HIV infection. Tuberculosis caused by M. canetti appears to be an emerging disease in the Horn of Africa. A history of a stay to the region should induce the clinician to consider this organism promptly even if the clinical features of TB caused by M. canetti are not specific. The natural reservoir, host range, and mode of transmission of the organism are still unknown.