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Prevention of transmission of Mycobacterium abscessus among patients with cystic fibrosis

Gross, Jane E.a,b,d; Martiniano, Stacey L.c,d; Nick, Jerry A.b,d

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: November 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 6 - p 646–653
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000621
CYSTIC FIBROSIS: Edited by Harry G.M. Heijerman and Nick Simmonds

Purpose of review Pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infection is recognized as one of the most challenging infections to treat among cystic fibrosis patients. The source of NTM infection, modes of transmission, and exposure risks are poorly understood. Healthcare-associated transmission of Mycobacterium abscessus among cystic fibrosis patients has been suspected and is a growing concern for cystic fibrosis centers worldwide. This review describes our current understanding of prevention of healthcare-associated transmission of M. abscessus among patients with cystic fibrosis.

Recent findings Multiple healthcare-associated outbreaks of M. abscessus among cystic fibrosis patients within cystic fibrosis care centers have been reported. The percentage of patients involved in the reported outbreaks, as well as the perceived impact of patient-to-patient transmission varies dramatically between the reporting centers and population surveys. Several groups have now proposed M. abscessus-specific measures to limit future outbreaks.

Summary Improved NTM surveillance combined with a standardized, systematic approach to epidemiologic investigation of potential episodes of healthcare-associated transmission will help to reveal risk factors for NTM acquisition and inform future evidence-based infection prevention and control measures for patients with cystic fibrosis.

aDepartment of Pediatrics

bDepartment of Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado

cChildren's Hospital Colorado

dUniversity of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA

Correspondence to Jane E. Gross, MD, National Jewish Health, 1400 Jackson Street, Denver, CO 80206, USA. E-mail:

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