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Mycobacterium xenopi

Mycobacterium xenopi is a slow-growing rod-shaped bacterium from the genus Mycobacterium. This Gram-positive bacterium belongs to the non‐tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).

Mycobacterium xenopi mainly causes pneumonia. In the advanced stage, disseminated infections can also occur. In this case, the infection spreads outside the lungs to other parts of the body.

Individuals with a weak immune system, for example those with pre-existing lung diseases, are at increased risk also for complications.

The bacterium occurs ubiquitously and is particularly widespread in water.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Not relevant

  • Pulmonology: Very high

  • Ear, nose, and throat: High

  • Urology: Not relevant

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

Transmission of Mycobacterium xenopi is aerogenic and via contaminated water.

The bacterium can also be spread and transmitted by tap water in healthcare facilities. The water used for final rinsing of endoscopes must therefore be microbiologically controlled to prevent a recontamination of the endoscope.

Resistance to antibiotics

Mycobacterium xenopi shows resistance to many antibiotics, such as macrolides. In addition, the bacterium also shows resistance to tuberculostatic agents, such as ethambutol.

Further readings

  1. Brode SK, Prescribing Patterns for Treatment of Mycobacterium avium Complex and M. xenopi Pulmonary Disease in Ontario, Canada, 2001-2013, Emerg Infect Dis. 2019 Jul;25(7):1271–1280

  2. van Ingen J Mycobacterium xenopi Clinical Relevance and Determinants, the Netherlands, Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Mar;14(3):385–9.