Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have emerged as an important cause of opportunistic nosocomial infections. NTM has frequently been isolated from hospital water distribution systems. The aim of this study was to survey the risk of NTM infections and determine the prevalence of NTM species in the hospital water distribution systems in Tabriz, Iran. One hundred and twenty samples of water from different sources of Tabriz hospitals were collected. The samples were filtered through 0.45-µm pore size membranes and decontaminated with 0.01% cetylpyridinium chloride. The sediment was inoculated onto Lowenstein–Jensen medium and incubated for 8 weeks. For identification to the species level, partial sequence analysis of the hsp65 and 16S rRNA genes were used. NTM were detected in 76 (63.3%) of 120 samples. Potentially pathogenic mycobacteria and saprophytic mycobacteria were isolated. Mycobacterium gordonae was the only single species that was present in all types of water. The prevalence of NTM in Tabriz hospitals' water compared with many investigations on hospital waters was high. This indicates that the immunocompromised patients and transplant recipients are at risk of contamination which necessitates considering decontamination of water sources to prevent such potential hazards.

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