Mycobacterium marinum 


Recently there has been an increase in the Chinese community of a rare infection called Mycobacterium marinum over the past few months. It is caused by handling raw fish. The symptoms start as an abscess in the hand which can then progress to multiple lesions over the hands and arms. In extreme cases, the infection can travel and involve the nerves and tendons of the hands. The infection can take a few weeks or months to become apparent. So, diagnosis is often delayed and sometimes missed because it is so unusual.

However, there has been a surge of these cases recently and they are continuing to present. CAMS President Dr. Danny Fong initially identified the problem. Dr. Fong states “I often observe 1 case of M.marinum infection every 1-2 years. However since last August, my office diagnosed at least 15 patients, all Chinese patients, with this infection.” CAMS Executive Director, Dr. Warren Chin adds “The community should be careful when they are handling raw fish with intact spines and bones and avoid puncture. People handling raw fish or seafood should wear rubber gloves, especially if you have any cuts or abrasions on your hands. If you have anything that resembles what is shown in the picture, please see medical attention as soon as possible.” Treatment sometimes involves surgery and requires several months of antibiotics. Dr. George Liu, President of CAIPA, assures everyone that “consumption of properly cooked fish and seafood would not present any risk of infection.”

Perry Pong, MD,the Chief Medical Officer at Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, said “It is for the good of the community that when there is an outbreak of disease  the Chinese medical community responds and obtains assistance from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH).  NYCDOHMH will help get to the root causes of the infection and advise how it can be prevented. Any patient with these symptoms of skin infection which do not heal should see their doctor and seek medical care.”

過去幾個月,華裔社區裡增加了感染罕見的海洋分枝桿菌的患者。海洋分枝桿菌是由處理新鮮魚類引起的。症狀開始時,是手部出現膿腫,然後在手和胳膊產生多發性病變。情況嚴重時,感染可蔓延到手部的神經和肌腱。感染後可能需要數週或數月才會變得明顯。由於這種病症並不見,往往無法及時確診,有時甚至診斷不出來 。

Press Conference on 03/06/2014 with CAMS, CAIPA, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in cooperation with Charles B. Wang Community Health Center

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Updated 3/06/2014

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