[Histonet] mycobacterium tuberculosis and fixation

From:"Liz Chlipala"

I'm posting this question since I need to research the viability of mycobaterium tuberculosis in fixed tissue samples.  We quite freqently handle paraformaldehye fixed samples from guinea pigs and mice that have been that infected with MTB, after fixation they are stored in 70% alchol for weeks before I get them.  I have culture data that shows that these samples that I am receiving have no viable TB present.  I'm wondering if there is anyone out there that handles fixed TB samples differently or are they considered non-infectious.  There has been one published study that did find viable bacteria in autopsy samples that had been stored in 10% NBF so there is conflicting data.  
Our policy on these type of samples is that we only accept fixed tissue samples, we do not work with any unfixed tissue samples.  We do make available for individuals that are grossing in the samples a 3M N95 particulate respirator, wearing the respirator is not manditory and we have run this procedure past our local OSHA person and they are fine with it.  
The one concern I have is that we use a shop vac to suck up the paraffin debris from the microtome and is this causing aerosolization.  Any comments are appreciated and thanks in advance.
Elizabeth A. Chlipala, BS, HTL(ASCP)QIHC
Premier Laboratory, LLC
P.O. Box 18592
Boulder, CO 80308
phone (303) 735-5001
fax (303) 735-3540
HYPERLINK "mailto:liz@premierlab.com"liz@premierlab.com
HYPERLINK "http://www.premierlab.com/"www.premierlab.com
Ship to Address:
Premier Laboratory, LLC
University of Colorado at Boulder
MCDB, Room A3B40
Boulder, CO 80309

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