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mac
Jul 29, 2010

what is mac

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for the question.

MAC is a short way of saying Mycobacterium avium complex, aka MAI- mycobacterium avium intracellulare.

This is a group of bacteria which can cause widespread infection in people with low CD4 counts. It is in the same family as TB which is Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Unlike TB, MAC will not usually cause problems in people with intact immune systems. MAC/MAI can be picked up anywhere. It is in the soil and water.

MAC can infect the lungs, blood stream (dissemination), liver, bone marrow, glands, intestines and lead to fever, sweats, anemia, weight loss and death if not recognized.

It can be treated with combinations of antibiotics. It can be prevented by taking prophylactic medication (azithromycin or clarithromycin) for people with low CD4 counts (less than 50-75).

Best, Joe



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