Prolonged postprocedural outbreak of Mycobacterium massiliense infections associated with ultrasound transmission gel

A. Cheng, W. H. Sheng, Y. C. Huang, H. Y. Sun, Y. T. Tsai, M. L. Chen, Y. C. Liu, Y. C. Chuang, S. C. Huang, C. I. Chang, L. Y. Chang, W. C. Huang, P. R. Hsueh, C. C. Hung, Y. C. Chen*, S. C. Chang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

30 Scopus citations


Postprocedural infections by Mycobacterium abscessus complex are increasing worldwide, and the source and route of transmission are infrequently identified. Here the extension of a previous clustering of paediatric patients with surgical site infections due to a single strain of the subspecies M. massiliense is reported. The investigation was conducted at a 2200-bed teaching hospital in Taiwan and included microbial surveillance of the environment (water, air, equipment and supplies) and a case-control study. We performed molecular identification and typing of the isolates by a trilocus sequencing scheme, confirmed by multilocus sequencing typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. We investigated 40 patients who developed postprocedure soft tissue or bloodstream infections by M. massiliense (TPE101) during a 3-year period. Thirty-eight patients were identified at hospital A, and one newborn and her mother were identified at hospital B (185 km from hospital A). A case-control study identified the association of invasive procedures (adjusted odds ratio, 9.13) and ultrasonography (adjusted odds ratio, 2.97) (both p <0.05) with acquiring the outbreak strain. Isolates from the cases and unopened bottles of ultrasound transmission gel were all of strain ST48 and indistinguishable or closely related by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. After replacement of contaminated gel, no new cases were detected during 18 months' follow-up. This investigation identified the use of contaminated gel as the common source causing an outbreak on a larger scale than had been recognized. Our findings halted production by the manufacturer and prompted revision of hospital guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382.e1-382.e11
JournalClinical Microbiology and Infection
Issue number4
StatePublished - 01 04 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.


  • Mycobacterium abscessus
  • Mycobacterium massiliense
  • Outbreak
  • Skin and soft tissue infections
  • Ultrasonography gel


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