July 8, 2022
Mycobacterium avium complex-related diseases are often associated with poorly maintained hot water systems. These bacteria are common and are found in fresh and salt water, in household dust and in soil. MAC bacteria usually cause infection in those who are immunocompromised or those with severe lung disease. They can become very sick and experience respiratory diseases, high fever, abdominal pain, weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue, swollen glands, night sweats, and fewer red blood cells, or more serious symptoms like hepatitis, pneumonia, and blood infections.Since humans are
most often exposed to MAC bacteria through freshwater, in the aquatic environment, MAC bacteria form biofilms to resist standard decontamination and disinfection. The growing number of resistant microorganisms calls for new methods, and plants offer promising antimicrobial activity, their essential oils (EOs) in particular. Out of six essential oils tested (juniper berry, ylang ylang, sage, lavandin, bay laurel, and white cedar), juniper berry essential oil was the most active, significantly reducing cell viability of M. avium, M. intracellulare, and M. gordonae in laboratory research. The researchers concluded that juniper berry essential oil represents a promising alternative water disinfectant in hot water systems such as baths, swimming pools, spa pools, hot tubs, or even foot baths/whirlpools.