Mycobacterium kansasii

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Mycobacterium kansasii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Actinobacteria
Order: Actinomycetales
Suborder: Corynebacterineae
Family: Mycobacteriaceae
Genus: Mycobacterium
Species: M. kansasii
Binomial name
Mycobacterium kansasii
Hauduroy 1955, ATCC 12478

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Mycobacterium kansasii


Gram-positive, nonmotile, moderately long to long and acid-fast rods.

Colony characteristics

  • Smooth to rough colonies after 7 or more days of incubation.
  • Colonies grown in dark are nonpigmented, when grown in light or when young colonies are exposed briefly to light, colonies become brilliant yellow (photochromogenic).
  • If grown in a lighted incubator, most strains form dark red crystals of β-carotene on the surface and inside of colony.


  • Growth on Middlebrook 7H10 agar at 37°C within 7 days or more.
  • Resistant to isoniazid.
  • Susceptible to ethambutol.

Differential characteristics

  • Closely related to the non-pathogenic, also slowly growing, nonpigmented M. gastri.
  • Both species share an identical 16S rDNA but differentiation is possible by differences in the ITS and hsp65 sequences
  • A commercial hybridisation assay (AccuProbe) to identify M. kansasii exists.


  • Chronic human pulmonary disease resembling tuberculosis (involvement of the upper lobe).
  • Extrapulmonary infections, (cervical lymphadenitis in children, cutaneous and soft tissues infections and musculoskeletal system involvement), are uncommon.
  • Rarely causes disseminated disease except in patients with severely impaired cellular immunity (patients with organ transplants or AIDS).
  • Normally considered not to be contagious from person to person.
  • Natural sources of infections unclear. Tap water is believed to be the major reservoir associated with human disease.
  • Biosafety level 2

Type Strain

  • First and most frequently isolated from human pulmonary secretions and lesions.

Strain ATCC 12478 = CIP 104589 = DSM 44162 = JCM 6379 = NCTC 13024.


Antimicrobial regimen

  • 1. pulmonary disease [1]
  • Preferred regimen: Rifampin 10 mg/kg/day (maximum, 600 mg) AND Ethambutol 15 mg/kg/ day AND Isoniazid 5 mg/kg/day (maximum 300 mg) AND Pyridoxine 50 mg/day
  • NOTE: Treatment duration for M. kansasii lung disease should include 12 months of negative sputum cultures
  • 2. Rifampin-resistant M. kansasii disease
  • 3. Disseminated M. kansasii disease
  • Preferred regimen: The treatment regimen for disseminated disease should be the same as for pulmonary disease


  1. Griffith, David E.; Aksamit, Timothy; Brown-Elliott, Barbara A.; Catanzaro, Antonino; Daley, Charles; Gordin, Fred; Holland, Steven M.; Horsburgh, Robert; Huitt, Gwen; Iademarco, Michael F.; Iseman, Michael; Olivier, Kenneth; Ruoss, Stephen; von Reyn, C. Fordham; Wallace, Richard J.; Winthrop, Kevin; ATS Mycobacterial Diseases Subcommittee; American Thoracic Society; Infectious Disease Society of America (2007-02-15). "An official ATS/IDSA statement: diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nontuberculous mycobacterial diseases". American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 175 (4): 367–416. doi:10.1164/rccm.200604-571ST. ISSN 1073-449X. PMID 17277290.
  • Hauduroy,P. 1955. Derniers aspects du monde des mycobactéries. Masson et Cie, Paris, 1955.

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