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Outbreaks of Non-tuberculous Mycobacterium Infection in the United States

To date, 114 known outbreaks of human infection by non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have been associated with medical / other invasive procedures.  37 of these (32%) have reported from the United States.  The following chronology is abstracted from the Gideon e-book series. [1]   Primary references are available from the author.

1987     17 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae otitis media in Louisiana caused by contaminated water used by an ENT practice

1988    8 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae infection associated with a contaminated jet injector used in a Podiatry office.

1989 – 1990   16 cases of  Mycobacterium fortuitum respiratory tract colonization in Washington, D.C. among patients on an alcoholism rehabilitation ward

1991 *     6 cases of Mycobacterium fortuitum infection in Washington, related to contaminated electromyography needles

1995 – 1996    87 cases (in 16 states) of Mycobacterium abscessus soft tissue infection associated with use of a contaminated adrenal cortex extract

1998     6 cases of Mycobacterium mucogenicum  bacteremia among bone marrow transplant and oncology patients in Minnesota, related to use of  contaminated water in a hematology-oncology unit.

1999     10 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus arthritis  in Texas associated with  contaminated benzalkonium chloride used in injections.

2000 – 2001     110 cases of Mycobacterium fortuitum skin infection in California,  associated with contaminated footbaths at a nail salon.

2001  Outbreak of Mycobacterium chelonae keratitis in California, associated with laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) performed in an Ophthalmology clinic.

2001 – 2002   Outbreak of Mycobacterium simiae infections in a Texas hospital was associated with contaminated tap water.

2002 *     34 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae soft tissue infection in California,  associated with liposuction procedures.

2002    115 cases of Mycobacterium fortuitum  infection in California, associated with contaminated footbaths at a nail salon.

2002     11 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus soft tissue infections in New York City, associated with injection of cosmetic substances by unlicensed practitioners

2002 – 2003     4 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae infection in New Jersey,  associated with injection of contaminated methylene blue solution into patients undergoing rhytidectomies.

2003     3 cases of Mycobacterium goodii infections at a hospital in Colorado,  associated with contaminated surgical implants

2004     12 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus soft tissue infection, among Americans undergoing cosmetic surgery at various clinics in the Dominican Republic

2004     143 cases of Mycobacterium fortuitum                skin and soft tissue infections in California,  associated with a nail salon

2008     4 cases of Mycobacterium mucogenicum bacteremia in North Carolina,  among sickle-cell anemia patients

2008 – 2011     6 cases of Mycobacterium wolinskyi infection among patients on a cardiothoracic surgery unit in Minnesota.

2009 *     6 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae infection related to contaminated needles used in a tattoo parlor.

2009     2 cases of Mycobacterium haemophilum infection in Washington,  associated with a tattoo parlor.

2009     5 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus infection reported at a cystic fibrosis center in Washington.

2011 *     11 cases of Mycobacterium porcinum infection in Texas,  related to contaminated drinking water.

2011 *      3 cases of Mycobacterium bolletii/M. massiliense furunculosis in North Carolina,  associated with a nail salon.

2011 *     Outbreak of Mycobacterium abscessus infections in Florida,  associated with outpatient rhytidectomies.

2011 – 2012     19 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae involving multiple states, associated with contaminated needles used in tattoo parlors.

2011 – 2012     15 cases of infection due to rapidly-growing Mycobacterium species, among transplant recipients on a hematopoietic stem cell transplantation unit in Minnesota.

2012     19 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus infection, among cystic fibrosis patients at a hospital in Hawaii

2013     2 cases among patients at a North Carolina cosmetic surgery clinic, associated with fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing procedures

2013 – 2014     19 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus and Mycobacterium fortuitum infections among Americans who traveled to the Dominican Republic of cosmetic surgery.

2013 – 2015     95 cases of  Mycobacterium abscessus infection at a hospital in North Carolina, associated with contaminated tap water.

2013 – 2014     39 cases of  Mycobacterium abscessus infection among transplant recipients in California,  associated with a contaminated environmental water source.

2014     15 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus infection at a South Carolina hospital, associated with contact between equipment and contaminated tap water

2015      2 cases of Mycobacterium chelonae  keratitis in Ohio, associated with use of contaminated humidifier in a laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) clinic.

2015      9 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus odontogenic infections at a Georgia practice,  among children undergoing dental pulpotomy.

2015     Outbreaks of Mycobacterium chimaera infections in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States (Pennsylvania) associated with a contaminated heater-cooler water unit manufactured in Germany, and subsequently in the United Kingdom.

2016     58 cases of Mycobacterium abscessus wound infection in California, associated with use of contaminated water during root-canal surgery at a dental practice.


* year of publication



  1. Berger SA, 2017. Gideon Guide to Outbreaks. 1,181 pages, 5,170 tables, 47,454 references. Gideon e-books,

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One Response to “Outbreaks of Non-tuberculous Mycobacterium Infection in the United States”

  1. Linda Nyaga Says: