CENTRE FOR INFECTIONS / PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CENTRE FOR INFECTIONS / PUBLIC HEALTH ENGLAND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mycobacterium chimaera bacteria, transmission electron micrograph (TEM). This bacterium has been found to colonise water in heater-cooler units used during open heart surgery to heat or cool the patient's blood. Although there is no direct contact between the contaminated water and blood, the bacteria can become airborne and infect the patient. The infection is potentially fatal and takes a cocktail of antibiotics over the course of a year or more to treat. Magnification: x15,300 when printed at 10 centimetres across.
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