During October 1996-March 1998, nine patients in eight hospitals in Caracas, Venezuela, acquired surgical-site infections (SSI) caused by rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM). All episodes of RGM infection occurred within 2 months after liposuction or liposculpture (aesthetic surgical procedures). This report describes the findings of an epidemiologic investigation of this cluster by the Venezuelan Ministry of Health and underscores the importance of sterilizing surgical equipment to prevent nosocomial infections.
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