Researchers find correlation between showerhead bacteria and lung infections

October 30, 2018, American Society for Microbiology

Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder have now shown that the regions in the United States where pathogenic mycobacteria are most prevalent in showerheads are the same regions where nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infections are most common. The study, published in the journal, mBio, emphasizes the important role of showerheads in the transmission of NTM infections.

Bacteria thrive in showerheads and throughout household water distribution systems. While most of these bacteria are innocuous, some are potential pathogens, including members of the genus Mycobacterium that can cause NTM lung infection, a threat to . The researchers surveyed showerheads in households across the United States and Europe and found that showerheads "often harbor abundant mycobacterial communities that vary in composition depending on geographic location, , and water source," according to the study. Households that received water treated with chlorine disinfectants had particularly high abundances of certain mycobacteria.

Their results highlight the public health relevance of mycobacteria in showerhead bio?lms and advance our understanding of NTM transmission dynamics. This study demonstrates that mycobacterial distributions in showerhead bio?lms are often predictable from household location and water chemistry. The results will help develop strategies to reduce exposures to these emerging pathogens.

Explore further: Drinking water linked to infections

Related Stories

Drinking water linked to infections

February 28, 2014
Brisbane's water supply has been found to contain disease carrying bugs which can be directly linked to infections in some patients, according to a new study by QUT.

Faster detection of pathogens in the lungs

June 24, 2016
What used to take several weeks is now possible in two days: Thanks to new molecular-based methods, mycobacterial pathogens that cause pulmonary infections or tuberculosis can now be detected much more quickly. Time-consuming ...

Inhaled steroids may increase risk of nontuberculous mycobacteria lung infections

September 14, 2018
Patients using inhaled steroids to control asthma and other breathing problems may be at greater risk for developing nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) lung infections, according to new research published online in the Annals ...

Molecular epidemiological conditions relating to tuberculous and non-tuberculous mycobacteria

November 8, 2012
A research project has been studying the molecular epidemiological conditions relating to diseases caused by tuberculous and non-tuberculous mycobacteria in the Mubende region of Uganda.

Recommended for you

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

Zika may hijack mother-fetus immunity route

November 14, 2018
To cross the placenta, Zika virus may hijack the route by which acquired immunity is transferred from mother to fetus, new research suggests.

New research aims to help improve uptake of hepatitis C testing

November 14, 2018
New research published in Scientific Reports shows persisting fears about HIV infection may impact testing uptake for the hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.