BACKGROUND - Cutaneous atypical mycobacterial infections have been increasingly described in association with cosmetic and alternative procedures.
OBJECTIVE - We report an outbreak of acupuncture-associated mycobacteriosis. Between April and December 2002, 32 patients developed cutaneous mycobacteriosis after visiting an acupuncture practice in Toronto, Canada.
RESULTS - Of 23 patients whose lesions were biopsied, 6 (26.1%) had culture-confirmed infection with Mycobacterium abscessus. These isolates were genetically indistinguishable by amplified fragment length polymorphism. The median incubation period was 1 month. Of 24 patients for whom clinical information was available, 23 (95.8%) had resolution of their infection. All patients developed residual scarring or hyperpigmentation.
CONCLUSION - Nontuberculous mycobacteria should be recognized as an emerging, but preventable, cause of acupuncture-associated infections.