Comparative Study
Journal Article
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Incidence of nontuberculous mycobacteria in four hot water systems using various types of disinfection.

The objective of this study was to determine the incidence of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in hot water systems of 4 selected hospital settings. The hospitals provided the following types of disinfection for their hot water systems: hydrogen peroxide and silver, thermal disinfection, chlorine dioxide, and no treatment (control). In each building, 6 samples were collected from 5 sites during a 3 month period. NTM were detected in 56 (46.7%) of 120 samples; the CFU counts ranged from 10 to 1625 CFU/L. The detected NTM species were the pathogens Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium xenopi, and Mycobacterium fortuitum and the saprophyte Mycobacterium gordonae. The most common to be isolated was M. xenopi, which was present in 51 samples. The hot water systems differed significantly in the incidence of NTM. NTM were not detected in the system treated by thermal disinfection, and a relatively low incidence (20% positive samples) was found in the system disinfected with chlorine dioxide. However, a high incidence was found in the control system with no additional disinfection (70% positives) and in the system using hydrogen peroxide and silver (97% positives). Water temperatures above 50 degrees C significantly limited the occurrence of NTM.

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