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Isolation of the Mycobacterium avium-M. intracellulare-M. scrofulaceum complex from tank water in Queensland, Australia.

  • R E Tuffley
  • J D Holbeche
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1980
  • Medicine


Disease-associated serotypes of Mycobacterium intracellulare and M. avium have been isolated from 32 of 141 rainwater tanks situated in the basin of the Fitzroy River and its tributaries in central Queensland, 7 of 32 tanks situated in the hinterland of the coastal city of Rockhampton, and 2 of 32 tanks sampled repetitively in the southeastern Queensland city of Toowoomba. M. gordonae was also isolated from 23 of the river basin tanks, from 9 in the Rockhampton hinterland, and from 5 in the city of Toowoomba. One half of these isolates came from tanks which also yielded M. intracellulare. Mycobacteria of the M. terrae-M. triviale-M. nonchromogenicum complex were found in 7 tanks, usually in conjunction with M. intracellulare. The humans who consume the contaminated tank water are free of symptoms but have not been medically examined. It is suggested that mycobacteria adhering to dust particles disturbed by mechanical cultivation may be the source of contamination.

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