Mycobacterium chimaera is an aerobic, Gram-positive bacterium in the Mycobacteriaceae family. It belongs to the nontuberculous (atypical) mycobacteria and is a mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) member.
Normally, M. chimaera is not dangerous for humans. However, the pathogen may trigger pneumonia in extremely immunocompromised patients. Rare cases of invasive infection after heart surgery have been reported. Contaminated temperature regulation devices used during heart surgery are assumed as cause here.
Transmission of M. chimaera mainly occurs via droplets or particles in the air.
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