Mycobacteria have emerged as a major cause of opportunistic infections. Until the present, only a few studies have characterized mycobacteria present in the water distribution system of urban areas. In this study, we characterize these microorganisms in the Lisbon water distribution system. Our results indicate a high rate of positivities (90.5%) with mainly saprophytic mycobacteria. Around 63% of these results belong to strains of Mycobacterium gordonae indicating a generalized proliferation of this species in the Lisbon water distribution system. A total of 21.05% of the isolates are from M. kansasii, M. intracellulare and M. chelonae.

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