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Mycobacteria do remain alive for at least 24 hours in sputum in natural conditions and hence are potentially transmissible. Therefore sputum needs to be disinfected with appropriate disinfectants before its safe disposal. National guidelines should incorporate such disinfection methods and the HCWs as well as patients need to be educated about methods of safe sputum disinfection and disposal.
Finding that MDR mycobacteria are resistant to disinfectants to, is disturbing and needs confirmation of the same with larger sample size. New methods of disinfection may need to be adopted in such cases.
Kiran A. Balani et al. Indian Journal of Tuberculosis 2023; 70 (2), 142-146.