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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1992 Apr;145(4 Pt 1):853-5.

Contamination of flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopes with Mycobacterium chelonae linked to an automated bronchoscope disinfection machine.

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Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.


Between December 5, 1989, and September 25, 1990, Mycobacterium chelonae was isolated from endoscopic or bronchial washings in 14 patients on a single clinical service. A phenotypically unique strain of M. chelonae subspecies abscessus that was highly resistant to cefoxitin (MIC greater than 256 micrograms/ml) and different from 13 control isolates of M. chelonae recovered elsewhere in the hospital was identified in all these patients and the rinse water from the bronchoscope disinfecting machine. None of the outbreak patients had evidence of invasive M. chelonae disease. Aggressive infection control measures on the disinfecting machine, including use of sterile water in the wash and rinse cycles, increasing the 2% alkaline glutaraldehyde exposure time, frequent replacement of the glutaraldehyde, and disinfection of the machine, failed to eradicate the M. chelonae, presumably because of the presence of a biofilm inside the machine. Rinsing the scopes with 70% alcohol after automated disinfection eliminated the outbreak strain. This study demonstrates that automated bronchoscope disinfecting machines may become heavily contaminated with mycobacteria that resist usual disinfection, resulting in a source of bronchoscope contamination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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