Atypical acid-fast organisms have frequently been shown to produce pulmonary disease in adults.1-5 This, however, has rarely been reported in children. The literature is complicated by the fact that the term "atypical acid-fast organisms" covers a considerable variety of mycobacteria. The taxonomy of this group is uncertain and sometimes controversial and is in urgent need of further investigational work. It may be helpful to start this discussion with a short summary of the present state of our information on this group in the form of a table (Table 1).
Adult pulmonary infection with atypical acid-fast organisms has been described with increasing frequency. In the central United States this is usually due to Mycobacterium kansasii2,3 and along the southern Atlantic coast it is usually due to the "Battey" organism.12,13
These organisms, on the other hand, rarely produce pulmonary disease in childhood. They do, however, frequently infect the cervical