(HealthDay News) – Nontuberculous mycobacterial infection can occur after fractionated carbon dioxide (CO2) laser resurfacing, according to a case series published in the March issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Donna A. Culton, MD, PhD, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues describe two cases of nontuberculous mycobacterial infection following treatment with fractionated CO2 resurfacing at the same private clinic.

The researchers note that, within two weeks of the laser procedure, densely distributed erythematous papules and pustules had developed within the treated area, although the extent of skin involvement varied. Histologic analysis and tissue culture confirmed the diagnosis. A four-month course of a multidrug regimen elicited a response in both infections. No source of infection was found during an initial environmental investigation of the clinic, but further investigation revealed mycobacterium isolates in the tap water and in the fractionated laser apparatus. However, the case isolates differed from each other (Mycobacterium abscessus and Mycobacterium chelonae) and from isolates obtained from the clinic.

“Papules and pustules after fractionated CO2 resurfacing should raise the suspicion of nontuberculous mycobacterial infection,” the authors write.

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