Mycobacterium avium complex

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is a group of bacteria, commonly found in soil or water, that can infect people who are living with HIV. In people whose CD4+ cell count drops below 50 cells per microliter (mcL), the bacteria can spread throughout the body and cause infection almost anywhere.

Symptoms include:

  • Night sweats.
  • Fever.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fatigue.
  • Weight loss.
  • Abdominal pain.

There is no easy way to avoid exposure to Mycobacterium avium complex bacteria. But medications are available that can prevent disease.

Last Updated: April 10, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine

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