Re: viability of tuberculosis bacteria

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From:Lauren Ball <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
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I remember a story going around some 30 years ago how a piece of lung at
AFIP had been in formalin for 20 years, and had been cut open and a positive
AFB culture had been obtained.  Could be another urban legend.  I've also
been taught that to be a hazard that your TB specimens would somehow need to
be aerosolized to be a problem.  Bille Swisher at CDC once told me that no
known organism can survive proper processing via alcohols, xylenes  and hot
paraffin.  Don't know if that's still true.That was like 20 years ago.
Heard some paranoia that Jacob Crutzfield could survive processing, and even
worse that said 13% of Alzheimers had CJD.  Consider your points of contact.
Use good ventilation, gloves, common sense, follow universal precautions.
Don't eat or drink in the Lab etc.  Follow standard CAP accreditation
guidelines and you will be OK.  If the tissues are thin enough "good enough"
should occur in a few hours.  Unless your tissue are very thick.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Bacon <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 1998 6:41 PM
Subject: viability of tuberculosis bacteria

>Hi all:
>We receive primate specimens in our research lab at the University of
>Missouri Veterinary Patho-Biology Lab that is often sent to us and is
>often infected with Tuberculosis. My question is how effective is
>formalin in killing tuberculosis bacteria and how long should we fix the
>tissue to ensure that the organism is non-infectious.  We've been
>flagging the specimens for 3 days to insure that they are well fixed
>before processing and cutting?  Is this necessary?  Our client would
>like faster turn around time?  Whats the consensus out there?
>Bob Bacon  HT ASCP
>Dept of Veterinary Pathology
>University of Missouri

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