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NTM – How do we mitigate against it and control it?

Karina Jones of Eta Projects, an IHEEM-registered Authorising Engineer (Water), takes a look at some of the health risks from growth and proliferation of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria – which she explains are ‘ubiquitous in the environment’ – and some of the key steps to lower them, and thus reduce the chances of infection.

I have been aware of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) for some time, but three years ago I still knew relatively little of the bacteria’s key characteristics, since the majority of our attention in healthcare water system environments is focused on Legionella and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. However, when I was informed about the NTM outbreak of Mycobacterium abscessus at the Royal Papworth Hospital in 2019,1 and the fact that the investigation confirmed water supply as the source, this further awakened my interest, and I felt that I needed to understand how this bacterium can affect our heath and how (if at all) we can control it

Ubiquitous in the environment

Nontuberculous mycobacteria, shortened to NTM, are ubiquitous in the environment, and are bacteria found in soil, dust, and water, including natural water sources (such as lakes, rivers, and streams) and municipal water sources (such as water that people drink or shower in).2 As with the majority of bacteria, there can be many different strains; in fact there are approximately 180 strains of NTM bacteria and more than 170 different species 

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Upcoming Events

Futurebuild 2024

ExCeL, London
5th - 7th March 2024

The Fire Safety Event 2024

National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham
30th April - 2 May 2024

Wales regional conference, exhibition and awards dinner 2024

International Conference Centre (ICC) Newport
28th - 29th May 2024

NAHFO National Conference 2024

Crowne Plaza Newcastle Upon Tyne
3rd - 5th June 2024

Design in Mental Health 2024

Manchester Central
4th - 5th June 2024

InstallerSHOW 2024

National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham
25th - 27th June

Access the latest issue of Health Estate Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Health Estate Journal app from your device's App store

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