Mycobacterium chelonae is a fast-growing, rod-shaped bacterium that belongs to the genus Mycobacterium. The Gram-positive pathogen belongs to the non‐tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) group.
Mycobacterium chelonae causes the following diseases:
Catheter-associated infections and wound infections
Rare lung infections
Invasive infections such as bacteremia, osteomyelitis (bone marrow inflammation), or intra-abdominal abscesses often occur among immunocompromised patients.
Mycobacterium chelonae is ubiquitous. The pathogen can be found in water and soil, among other places, and grows optimally at temperature of 30-32°C.
Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy
Gastroenterology: Not relevant
Pulmonology: Very high
Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant
Urology: Very high
Relevance for endoscope surveillance
High concern organism
Mycobacterium chelonae is one of the pathogens causing nosocomial infections and is often transmitted during surgery, injections or through catheters.
In healthcare facilities the bacterium can also be spread and transmitted through water. To prevent a recontamination of the endoscope, the water used for final rinsing must be microbiologically controlled.
Resistance to antibiotics
Mycobacterium chelonae is resistant to numerous antibiotics. Resistance to macrolides and to substances in the tetracycline and cephalosporins groups has already been described.
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Kovaleva J et al. Transmission of Infection by Flexible Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Bronchoscopy, Clin Microbiol Rev. 2013 Apr;26(2):231-54.