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The Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) stain is important in identifying organisms that are acid fast, principally Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, decolorisation with a weaker acid concentration (for example 1% hydrochloric acid), often used in ZN staining in histology, can result in a wider variety of organisms appearing acid fast and can be a cause of misidentification. To illustrate this point, a patient is described with pulmonary nocardiosis who was misdiagnosed as having tuberculous empyema on pleural biopsy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/jcp.51.7.535

Type

Journal

Journal of clinical pathology

Publication Date

07/1998

Volume

51

Pages

535 - 536

Addresses

Department of Medical Microbiology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.

Keywords

Pleura, Humans, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nocardia asteroides, Tuberculosis, Pleural, Nocardia Infections, Pleural Diseases, Diagnosis, Differential, Aged, Coloring Agents, Female