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Pseudo-outbreak of septicemia due to rapidly growing mycobacteria associated with extrinsic contamination of culture supplement


Between April and December 1994, 23 blood cultures from human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients grew rapidly growing mycobacteria suspected to be Mycobacterium chelonae at a hospital in New Jersey. The isolates were later identified as M. abscessus. Several bacterial species, including M. abscessus, were cultured from an opened multidose supplement vial (BBL Septi-Chek AFB Supplement) that had been used for mycobacterial blood cultures. The M. abscessus isolates from case patients and the supplement vial had identical multilocus enzyme electrophoresis and antimicrobial susceptibility patterns. Finding a contaminated vial of supplement, together with the lack of a distinct syndrome in case patients, was consistent with a pseudo-outbreak.

Ashford DA, Kellerman S, Yakrus M, Brim S, Good RC, Finelli L, Jarvis WR, McNeil MM

J. Clin. Microbiol. 1997 Aug;35(8):2040-2

PMID: 9230377