Volume 23, Number 3—March 2017
Etymologia: Mycobacterium chimaera
Formerly an unnamed Mycobacterium (Figure) sequevar within the M. avium–M. intracellulare–M. scrofulaceum group (MAIS), M. chimaera is an emerging opportunistic pathogen that can cause infections of heart valve prostheses, vascular grafts, and disseminated infections after open-heart surgery. Heater–cooler units used to regulate blood temperature during cardiopulmonary bypass have been implicated, although most isolates are respiratory. In 2004, Tortoli et al. proposed the name M. chimaera for strains that a reverse hybridization–based line probe assay suggested belonged to MAIS but were different from M. avium, M. intracellulare, or M. scrofulaceum. The new species name comes from the chimera, a mythological being made up of parts of 3 different animals.
- Schreiber PW, Kuster SP, Hasse B, Bayard C, Rüegg C, Kohler P, et al. Reemergence of Mycobacterium chimaera in heater–cooler units despite intensified cleaning and disinfection protocol. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016;22:1830–3.
- Struelens MJ, Plachouras D. Mycobacterium chimaera infections associated with heater-cooler units (HCU): closing another loophole in patient safety. Euro Surveill. 2016;21:1–3.
- Tortoli E, Rindi L, Garcia MJ, Chiaradonna P, Dei R, Garzelli C, et al. Proposal to elevate the genetic variant MAC-A, included in the Mycobacterium avium complex, to species rank as Mycobacterium chimaera sp. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2004;54:1277–85.