Investigation of Laboratory Cross-Contamination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Cultures

Fitzpatrick, L.; Braden, C.; Cronin, W.; English, J.; Campbell, E.; Valway, S.; Onorato, I.
March 2004
Clinical Infectious Diseases;3/15/2004, Vol. 38 Issue 6, p52
Academic Journal
Many clinicians and laboratory personnel are unaware that a culture positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis may represent contamination. Laboratory cross-contamination with the M. tuberculosis laboratory control strain (H37Ra) occurs infrequently and therefore demands heightened awareness and recognition. We report 3 occurrences of laboratory cross-contamination from the same laboratory. These occurrences illustrate the importance of interpreting laboratory results in conjunction with the patient's clinical presentation. Failure to recognize laboratory cross-contamination with M. tuberculosis leads to both erroneous administration of unnecessary medications and expenditure of resources required to conduct contact investigations.


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