High overall mortality of Mycobacterium genavense infections and impact of antimycobacterial therapy: Systematic review and individual patient data meta-analysis

Published:November 14, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2021.10.027


      • Mycobacterium genavense infections mainly affect immunocompromised hosts.
      • cases in non-HIV patients are increasingly reported.
      • the bacterium has a tropism for the gastrointestinal tract.
      • macrolide containing regimens are associated with better outcomes.



      Mycobacterium genavense is a fastidious slow growing mycobacterium (SGM) that causes disseminated infections in immunocompromised hosts. It has been described in HIV-positive individuals and increasingly in patients without HIV. The infections are difficult to treat and the optimal antimycobacterial regimen is still unknown.


      An individual patient data meta-analysis was conducted aiming at including all hitherto published cases of infection with M. genavense. Clinical manifestations, microbiological data, dispositions and immunosuppression were recorded. Antimycobacterial therapies and mortality were analyzed by logistic regression and time-to-event analysis.


      We included 223 patients with infection due to M. genavense published from 1992 to 2021. While the majority was HIV positive (n = 171, 76.7%), 52 patients were non-HIV-patients (23.3%), 36 of whom received immunosuppressive therapy (69%). We could confirm the bacterium's tropism for the gastrointestinal tract with abdominal pain, hepato-/splenomegaly and abdominal lymphadenopathy being major clinical manifestations. More than 90% of patients received antimycobacterial therapy. The regimens consisted mainly of macrolides, rifamycins and ethambutol. Overall mortality was high, but in logistic regression and time-to-event analysis a macrolide containing regimen was associated with better outcomes.


      In this first individual patient data meta-analysis of infections with M. genavense we confirm its tropism for the gastrointestinal tract. The high overall mortality underlines the clinical relevance of infection with this bacterium for the individual patient. In addition, our data give a hint that a macrolide containing regimen is associated with better survival.


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