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Is Mycobacterium avium contagious?

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Quick Answer

Mycobacterium avium complex, or MAC, is not contagious. MAC is a group of bacteria related to the tuberculosis germ. It can infect various parts of the body such as the lungs, bones and intestines.

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Infections can be localized in specific regions or disseminated throughout the body. Those with strong immune systems usually fight off MAC infections on their own. Patients with immunodeficiency disorders such as AIDS need medications to treat MAC. Symptoms of MAC include high fever, night sweats, weight loss and swollen glands. Doctor examinations are critical for diagnosis because many opportunistic infections exhibit the same symptoms as MAC.

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