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Produced by Members of the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network M. chimaera Working Group with consultation from the Infection Prevention and Control Expert Working Group


This document outlines laboratory testing criteria and specimens to be collected for symptomatic persons with history of exposure to heater-cooler units during open-chest heart surgery performed from November 1st, 2011 onward.


A recent outbreak of Mycobacterium chimaera has been detected globally in patients who have undergone open-chest heart surgery while in the presence of contaminated heater-cooler units.

There are many areas of uncertainty with respect to: 1) the magnitude and factors affecting infection risk, 2) clinical presentations of disease and 3) ideal management of devices.

At this time the risk to patients is thought to be low. Risk estimates will be supplied as more information becomes available.

The Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network and its partners are working to support the laboratory response through the production of these interim recommendations.

This guidance document will focus on 1) defining patients at risk to establish criteria for testing and 2) recommendations related to the sample collection and testing for detection of M. chimaera in patients.