Journal Article

Endemic Contamination of Clinical Specimens by <i>Mycobacterium gordonae</i>

Paul M. Arnow, Mustafa Bakir, Kenneth Thompson and Judith L. Bova

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 31, issue 2, pages 472-476
Published in print August 2000 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online August 2000 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Endemic Contamination of Clinical Specimens by Mycobacterium gordonae

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Contamination of clinical specimens by Mycobacterium gordonae is a significant endemic problem in many laboratories. To investigate this problem, 84 cases at 1 hospital were retro-spectively identified during 20 months. The overall rate of specimen contamination was 2.4%, and 72 of the contaminated specimens were respiratory. A case-control comparison showed that the risk of respiratory specimen contamination was significantly increased if the specimen was expectorated (odds ratio [OR], 3.62; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.36–9.50) or if the patient consumed fluids within 2 days before specimen collection (OR, 8.92; 95% CI, 1.40–71.20). Cultures of tap water, ice, and iced drinking water all yielded M. gordonae at 10−2–100 cfu/mL. A culture survey of consenting patients showed contamination of 8 (24%) of 34 sputum specimens collected immediately after a tap water mouth rinse. These findings demonstrate that endemic specimen contamination arises from mycobacteria in hospital tap water and provide a foundation for control efforts.

Journal Article.  3064 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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