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Q: mycobacterium szulgai ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: mycobacterium szulgai
Category: Health
Asked by: biglou1947-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 20 Jun 2006 21:30 PDT
Expires: 20 Jul 2006 21:30 PDT
Question ID: 739869
Could mycobacterium szulgai have been contacted in the vietnam war?
Subject: Re: mycobacterium szulgai
Answered By: sublime1-ga on 21 Jun 2006 00:10 PDT

The short answer is yes, it could.

This PDF file, citing Chapter 16 of a Military Dermatology textbook,
titled, 'ATYPICAL MYCOBACTERIAL DISEASES', notes the following:

"M szulgai, first recognized in 1972, is a rare pathogen
 with fewer than 20 total cases reported - of
 which most have been chronic pulmonary disease
 in middle-aged men with fewer than 6 cases involving
 skin or soft tissue. Apparently, this organism
 is distributed worldwide with no known natural

The above paragraph suggests that this pathogen could be contracted
almost anywhere in the world.

More to the point of its presence in Vietnam:

"Although atypical mycobacterial infections per
 se are not mentioned in Lieutenant Colonel Alfred
 M. Allen?s landmark volume on dermatology in the
 U.S. Army, Skin Diseases in Vietnam, 1965-72, 
 several reports of that era record infections with these
 organisms. In a report published in 1963, 12 orthopedic
 cases were discussed, with atypical mycobacterial
 infections of tendon sheaths in one half of the
 patients and involvement of joints in the other half.
 Three of the tendon infections followed laceration or
 hydrocortisone injections, and three of the six joint
 infections followed repeated injections of hydrocortisone
 into the affected joint. The exact atypical mycobacteria
 species in these cases were not identified,
 but M ulcerans and M marinum were ruled out
 by bacteriological studies; thus, given the culture
 growth characteristics, the offending organisms
 were most likely M fortuitum, M kansasii, or M szulgai."

A later paragraph explains the relative rarity of these
types of infections in Vietnam, and suggests a possible

"Another report described M fortuitum infections in
 three severely wounded Vietnam veterans with deep 
 soft tissue abscesses; all eventually healed following
 extensive debridement, incision and drainage, and
 local wound care. These three cases were the only
 ones found among the large number of injured
 patients returning from Vietnam and treated at
 Valley Forge (Pennsylvania) General Hospital. The
 low number of cases may have been attributed to
 the aeromedical evacuation system that was used
 during the Vietnam conflict, which rapidly removed
 the accessible wounded from the battlefield, thus
 preventing continued contact of open wounds with
 water or soil contaminated with atypical mycobacteria.
 Rapid removal of patients with extensive
 open wounds to relatively sophisticated treatment
 facilities with good laboratory capabilities is essential
 in minimizing delays in diagnosis and effective
 treatment of atypical mycobacterial infections."

If you were not fortunate enough to have been among those
who received rapid evacuation via helicopter, this would
have increased your chances for exposure and infection.

All of this, and more, from this PDF file, already noted:


Additional information may be found from further exploration
of the links provided above, as well as those resulting from
the Google searches outlined below.

Searches done, via Google:

"mycobacterium szulgai" vietnam

"m szulgai" vietnam
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