Cross-contamination during sequential processing of sputum specimens from different patients causes false-positive growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in culture. We describe an unusual case of cross-contamination in a 36-year-old man with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and possible persistent tuberculosis. Culture with 1 of 3 sputum specimens was positive for rifampin-susceptible M tuberculosis. Review of processing revealed that his single culture-positive sputum specimen had followed a sputum specimen from another patient with active pulmonary tuberculosis that was positive in culture for M tuberculosis resistant to rifampin. Molecular strain typing by restriction fragment length polymorphism demonstrated the 2 isolates to be an identical strain of M tuberculosis. Agar proportion susceptibility testing of the rifampin-resistant isolate revealed low numbers of resistant organisms in a range of 1.5% to 3.3%. It was concluded that rifampin-susceptible organisms that constituted approximately 98% of the resistant isolate contaminated sputum from the patient with possible persistent tuberculosis. His culture result was, therefore, considered false positive, not an indication of tuberculosis.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||2|
|Journal||Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine|
|State||Published - 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Medical Laboratory Technology