Mycobacterium: A large family of bacteria that have unusually waxy cell walls that are resistant to digestion.
The mycobacteria includes:
- Mycobacterium avium -- which causes tuberculosis-like illness in birds and immunodeficient people;
- Mycobacterium leprae -- which causes leprosy;
- Mycobacterium marinum -- which causes swimming pool granuloma;
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis -- which causes tuberculosis; and
- Mycobacterium ulcerans -- which causes Buruli ulcer.
The mycobacteria are acid-fast rod-shaped bacteria. They are usually slow-growing. Many are intracellular parasites.