What is it?

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) refers to infections caused by two types of bacteria- Mycobacterium avium and Mycobacterium intracellulare. Typically, infections by MAC complex do not cause any sickness, unless it occurs in people who are immunocompromised. Risk factors for developing sickness from Mycobacterium avium complex include HIV/AIDS, certain cancer or people with chronic lung disease. There are three types of MAC infections; pulmonary, which is the most common, disseminated MAC infection, and MAC associated lymphadenitis which causes swelling of lymph nodes, this type is seen more in children.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Infection due to Mycobacterium avium
- Disseminated Mycobacterium Avium-Intracellulare Complex Bacteremia

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms are different for each type of MAC infection but may include fever, night sweat, weight loss, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anemia, swelling and pain of lymph nodes.


Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include lung X-ray or CT SCAN, sputum test and special staining called acid-fast bacillus test.


Treatment for MAC infection depends on the type of MAC and may include a combination of antibiotics taken for a long period of time, antiviral medications and surgery.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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