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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2002 Jul;21(7):546-8. Epub 2002 Jul 12.

Improved decontamination method for recovering mycobacteria from patients with cystic fibrosis.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


In order to improve the recovery of mycobacteria from patients with cystic fibrosis, the present study evaluated a two-step decontamination procedure for clinical specimens. A total of 920 specimens obtained from 239 patients with cystic fibrosis were treated initially with N-acetyl-L-cysteine/sodium hydroxide. Of these specimens, 31 (3.3%) showed mycobacterial growth and 415 (45.1%) remained contaminated. Contaminated specimens were then subjected to a second round of decontamination, using a combination of N-acetyl-L-cysteine/sodium hydroxide and oxalic acid. Following this second decontamination, the number of specimens overgrown by microorganisms other than mycobacteria was reduced to 7.3%, and an additional 10 specimens positive for mycobacteria were found. The results suggest this two-step protocol could improve the recovery of mycobacteria from heavily contaminated specimens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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