“Go on then, tell me what you’ve got” replied the Microbiologist, knowing from previous experience that this would indeed be a tricky case, but looking forward to his colleagues challenge.
“I’ve got an elderly chap who has bronchiectasis and I have been treating for an exacerbation without much luck. In fact he’s getting worse. Despite 2 weeks of different IV antibiotics his CT shows progressive cavitation. He has lost a lot of weight over the past couple of months and unless we come up with something I think I’m going to lose this battle”
As the discussion went on the Microbiologist started to look at the patients past results. The one bacterium that stood out as being a bit unusual was Mycobacterium abscessus which had grown a few times over the past year in various sputum samples.
“Mmmm, what do you think about the M. abscessus?” asked the Microbiologist. “It sounds like this may be more significant than we’d normally give it credit for.”
“I’m glad you say that, I thought the same, but didn’t want to influence your thoughts” replied the Respiratory Consultant.
“Mmmm, I have only rarely seen it cause clinical disease, although it’s improbable, it is possible, so let me check the latest literature and I’ll meet you on the ward and we’ll go from there” said the Microbiologist already opening a large tome of reference text, muttering to himself …this isn’t going to be covered in Microbiology Nuts & Bolts!!