Mycobacteria in HIV-infected patients in Buenos Aires

Tuber Lung Dis. 1995 Jun;76(3):185-9. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8479(05)80002-4.


Setting: F. J. Muñiz Hospital and Department of Phthisiopneumonology, in Buenos Aires.

Objective: To analyze bacteriological findings concerning tuberculosis and other mycobacteriosis, in association with HIV infection and AIDS.

Design: From June 1985 to December 1991, 2521 samples from 1259 HIV-seropositive and AIDS patients were analyzed: 1133 samples were of bronchopulmonary origin and the remaining 1388 of extrapulmonary origin. Drug susceptibility tests were performed using the proportions method.

Results: Mycobacterial disease was confirmed by culture in 240 of the 1259 HIV/AIDS patients (19%). Mycobacterium tuberculosis was isolated in 223 of these cases (92.9%) and M. bovis in two, while M. avium-complex (MAC) strains were identified as the cause of disease in 14 patients (5.8%). In only one case was disease due to M. kansasii. Blood cultures were positive in 21.2% of these 240 cases. Resistance of M. tuberculosis to antituberculosis drugs was found in 9.4% of the 223 isolates. In only one case was multidrug resistance detected, in a patient who had received previous treatment.

Conclusion: Smear examination, although less sensitive than in HIV-negative patients, was still a simple and reliable tool for the rapid diagnosis of mycobacterial disease. Blood culture aided in the successful diagnosis of about half of the cases of disseminated tuberculosis and of all cases of MAC disease. An alarming spread of tuberculosis was detected among a group of HIV-positive prisoners, and the possible emergence of multidrug resistance should be anticipated.

PIP: An increase in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated mycobacterial tuberculosis has led to a reversal of an earlier trend in Argentina toward a decline in the incidence of tuberculosis. A bacteriologic study conducted at the Muniz Hospital in Buenos Aires June 1985-December 1991 confirmed the reliability of smear examination for the rapid diagnosis of mycobacterial disease. 2521 samples were obtained from 1259 HIV-infected individuals during the study period and mycobacterial disease was confirmed by culture in 240 cases (19%). The smears were positive in 59.0% of the 122 pulmonary cases, 22.0% of the 72 extrapulmonary cases, and 56.5% of the 46 pulmonary-extrapulmonary cases. Blood cultures were positive in 21.2% of the 240 cases. In patients with pulmonary localization, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was diagnosed between a few months to two years after the onset of tuberculosis; those with the two other localizations had already advanced to AIDS at the time of blood smear. Resistance to one or more antitubercular drugs was found in 9.4% of cases.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications*
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology
  • Argentina / epidemiology
  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / complications*
  • Mycobacterium Infections / epidemiology


  • Antitubercular Agents