Nontuberculous Mycobacterial NTM Waterborne Pathogen Testing

Nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) are opportunistic pathogens that pose an increased risk for many individuals, such as those with underlying lung disease or depressed immune systems. One study across 25 states showed that NTM bacteria were found in nearly 8 out of 10 water samples.

NTM can be found in water, both in natural water sources and municipal water sources that can result in exposure through faucets, showers, ice machines, fountains, dishwashing stations, and sinks. NTM often forms in biofilms that stick to each other and adhere to surfaces such as the insides of pipes. This makes it difficult to remove NTM without proper waterborne pathogen testing and remediation.

Most NTM tests take at least 21 days and sometimes the bacteria is viable but non culturable (VBNC), which doesn’t show up in a standard culture test. Legionella Control Systems can perform onsite testing for NTM and get results within a few hours with its qPCR based waterborne pathogen detection system.

To prevent infections caused by NTM, facilities should develop an effective water management program. A water management program requires expert knowledge of opportunistic waterborne pathogens such as NTM and Legionella. Contact Legionella Control Systems for advice and support in developing your water management program.

Learn about our waterborne pathogen and Legionella risk assessment services.

While a particularly high risk for healthcare settings due to the immunocompromised patients and residents, NTM is also a threat in residential buildings as well as commercial and industrial facilities that have large or have complex water systems. These factors can result in water stagnation and temperature variation that can lead to the growth of NTM and other pathogens. These pathogens often form biofilms in the pipes making it easier for them to grow, and difficult for facilities managers to treat without the support of a waterborne pathogen expert consultant.

According to the CDC, healthcare facilities should establish a healthcare water management program that includes testing for NTM in water, as well as remediation of NTM if it is present in the water.

Learn more about how you can test for NTM and other waterborne pathogens and develop a water management program for your facility. As a truly independent waterborne pathogen expert consultant, Legionella Control Systems can help you identify the best, most cost-effective approach for testing, remediation, and ongoing mitigation of opportunistic waterborne pathogens such as NTM and Legionella. Contact Legionella Control Systems today. Be sure to take advantage of our free water testing from Legionella Control Systems for basic water characteristics including ORP.