A family not to be associated with
Mycobacterium kansasii and the bacteria causing tuberculosis1 are from the same family.
It can be found in our environment, more particularly in stagnant waters and even sometimes in the house water networks.
Mycobacterium kansasii enters through the respiratory tract when we breathe in aerosols2 produced by humidifiers, sprayers, or badly maintained air conditioners.
This bacterium causes respiratory tract diseases but is much less dangerous than its “cousin” Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes tuberculosis.
It preys on the weak
However, some sub-types of this bacterium can be dangerous for patients with weaker immune system3 (young kids, pregnant women, transplant patients, patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy).
Mycobacterium kansasii infections require antibiotic4 treatments that were specifically designed to be effective against mycobacteria.
Tuberculosis1 = Infectious disease affecting mostly the lungs, causing cough, fever and weight loss. This disease can reach several other organs such as bones, kidneys and liver. It is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Aerosols2 = Water droplets that can be transported by wind and air and enter our respiratory tracts.
Immune system3 = Set of mechanisms (antibodies, white blood cells…) protecting us from infections.
Antibiotic4 = A drug which allows to kill bacteria or at least to stop their growth. Antibiotics act against bacteria, but do not help treat diseases caused by viruses and parasites.