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Clin Infect Dis. 2002 Jun 1;34(11):1500-7. Epub 2002 May 10.

An outbreak of Mycobacterium chelonae infection following liposuction.

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County of Orange Health Care Agency/Public Health, Santa Ana, CA, 92706, USA.


Among 82 patients who underwent liposuction performed by a single practitioner in a 6-month period, 34 (41%) developed cutaneous abscesses. An organism identified as Mycobacterium chelonae by polymerase chain reaction restriction-enzyme analysis was recovered from cultures of samples from 12 of those patients. DNA large restriction-fragment pattern analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis demonstrated that a strain of M. chelonae recovered from biofilm in the piped-water system in one of the physician's offices differed by only 2 restriction fragments from the 12 patient isolates, which differed from each other by 0 or 1 restriction fragment. A detailed retrospective cohort study that included interviews with former employees and statistical analysis of risk factors indicated that inadequate sterilization and rinsing of surgical equipment with tap water were likely sources of mycobacterial contamination. This is the first reported outbreak of nosocomial infection due to M. chelonae in which a source has been identified and the first to occur in association with liposuction in patients in the United States.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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