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Gay Men's Health Crisis
TREATMENT BRIEFS: Hospital Water May be MAC Risk
David Gold
October 1, 1994
GMHC Treatment Issues 1994 Oct 1; 8(9): 12

Even before widespread concerns about cryptosporidiosis in the water supply appeared, a report in The Lancet (1994; 343(8906):1137-41) suggested that patients at two hospitals (one in Boston, the other in New Hampshire) may have been infected with mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) while at the hospital. According to the researchers, strains of MAC isolated from the patients' blood were identical to those recovered from the water systems in the hospitals where the patients had been admitted before they were diagnosed with MAC. The possible sources of exposure to MAC include tap water and ice, showers, water used for administration of aerosolized pentamidine, and endoscopes or bronchoscopes sterilized using the hospital's hot water system. The authors recommend that patients with AIDS and CD4 counts of less than 100 avoid institutional showers and contact with non-sterile potable water. They say that MAC-colonized institutional water systems should be sterilized using the same measures used for legionella.

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