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“Opportunist” mycobacterial infection
  1. GARY PORTER-JONES, Respiratory Specialist Nurse
  1. Department of Respiratory Medicine
  2. North West Wales NHS Trust
  3. Ysbyty Gwynedd
  4. Bangor
  5. Gwynedd LL57 2PW
  6. UK
  7. gary.porter-jones{at}

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    With reference to the letter by Drs Davies and Grange1 in the August edition ofThorax and the response to this by Drs Campbell and Ormerod2 representing the committee that prepared the guidelines to which this letter refers,3 and despite the hope of Drs Campbell and Ormerod that arguments about the nomenclature of mycobacterial grouping would have been laid to rest by now, I believe I can see why this issue remains topical.

    Drs Davies and Grange argue that the term “environmental mycobacteria” is the preferred term and should be universally adopted. However, as recently as 1994 Dr Davies4 suggested that, in recognising it is time the world agreed on what to call these mycobacteria, the term “non-tuberculous mycobacteria” should be used and not “environmental mycobacteria” as he now suggests in his letter.1 With high profile, expert clinicians changing their minds and advice, it is hardly surprising that guidance is somewhat unreliable and continuously being sought, especially by more junior members of staff. I suspect that, in view of this, it will be some time before this issue is finally laid to rest.


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