Article ID: 5188-20
Objective Gastrointestinal lesions of non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are regarded as opportunistic infections. A large number of positive specimens of NTM were identified in an intestinal fluid culture in the endoscopy unit and it was considered to be a pseudo-outbreak.
Methods We reviewed the hospital, laboratory, and colonoscopy records of 263 consecutive patients whose intestinal fluids were analyzed for a mycobacterial culture by colonoscopy at St. Marianna University Hospital, between January 2009 and December 2018. The endoscopy reprocessing procedures were reviewed and samples of water used in the endoscopy unit were cultured.
Results An intestinal fluid culture of 154 (58.6%) patients tested positive for NTM (M. intracellulare; 125 cases, M. gordonae; 14 cases, M. avium; 4 cases, M. abscessus; 3 cases, and 8 other cases). In 182 cases (69.2%), an intestinal mucosal culture was performed simultaneously with a fluid culture and tested positive for NTM in 2 cases. Next, we examined the endoscopy unit for any possible environmental contamination. NTM were detected in the tap water used to prepare the antifoaming solution in the endoscopy unit. The water faucets in the endoscopy unit were considered to be the source of the contamination of NTMs.
Conclusions We observed that a large number of cases tested positive due to contaminated water that had been used in an endoscopy unit, thus leading to a pseudo-outbreak of NTM.