Factors associated with the isolation of Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) from a large municipal water system in Brisbane, Australia

Thomson, Rachel, Carter, Robyn, Tolson, Carla, Coulter, Chris, Huygens, Flavia, & Hargreaves, Megan (2013) Factors associated with the isolation of Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) from a large municipal water system in Brisbane, Australia. BMC Microbiology, 13(89).

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Abstract

Background

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are normal inhabitants of a variety of environmental reservoirs including natural and municipal water. The aim of this study was to document the variety of species of NTM in potable water in Brisbane, QLD, with a specific interest in the main pathogens responsible for disease in this region and to explore factors associated with the isolation of NTM. One-litre water samples were collected from 189 routine collection sites in summer and 195 sites in winter. Samples were split, with half decontaminated with CPC 0.005%, then concentrated by filtration and cultured on 7H11 plates in MGIT tubes (winter only).

Results

Mycobacteria were grown from 40.21% sites in Summer (76/189) and 82.05% sites in winter (160/195). The winter samples yielded the greatest number and variety of mycobacteria as there was a high degree of subculture overgrowth and contamination in summer. Of those samples that did yield mycobacteria in summer, the variety of species differed from those isolated in winter. The inclusion of liquid media increased the yield for some species of NTM. Species that have been documented to cause disease in humans residing in Brisbane that were also found in water include M. gordonae, M. kansasii, M. abscessus, M. chelonae, M. fortuitum complex, M. intracellulare, M. avium complex, M. flavescens, M. interjectum, M. lentiflavum, M. mucogenicum, M. simiae, M. szulgai, M. terrae. M. kansasii was frequently isolated, but M. avium and M. intracellulare (the main pathogens responsible for disease is QLD) were isolated infrequently. Distance of sampling site from treatment plant in summer was associated with isolation of NTM. Pathogenic NTM (defined as those known to cause disease in QLD) were more likely to be identified from sites with narrower diameter pipes, predominantly distribution sample points, and from sites with asbestos cement or modified PVC pipes.

Conclusions

NTM responsible for human disease can be found in large urban water distribution systems in Australia. Based on our findings, additional point chlorination, maintenance of more constant pressure gradients in the system, and the utilisation of particular pipe materials should be considered.

Impact and interest:

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29 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 67247
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: NTM, water, Brisbane
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2180-13-89
ISSN: 1471-2180
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > MICROBIOLOGY (060500) > Infectious Agents (060502)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 Thomson et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Copyright Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Deposited On: 13 Feb 2014 00:34
Last Modified: 01 May 2014 02:07

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