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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1988 Dec;54(12):3122-5.

Prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria in water supplies of hemodialysis centers.

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Hospital Infections Program, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


Infection of hemodialysis patients with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) has been associated with water used in reprocessing hemodialyzers. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of NTM and other bacteria in water samples collected over a 13-week period from 115 randomly selected dialysis centers in the United States. Total viable counts were determined by membrane filter assays; increased recovery of NTM was obtained by dosing a portion of each water sample with 1% formaldehyde (HCHO) before filtering. NTM were widely distributed and occurred with a high frequency in water supplies in dialysis centers. NTM were detected in water from 95 centers (83%), and 50% of all samples examined contained NTM. The results of this study support recommendations to use 4% HCHO or a chemical germicidal equivalent for disinfecting dialyzers that are to be reused.

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