Non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections—A neglected and emerging problem

Imran Ahmed, Simon Tiberi, Joveria Farooqi, Kauser Jabeen, Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Giovanni Battista Migliori, Rumina Hasan

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43 Citations (Scopus)


Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous dwellers of environmental niches and are an established cause of natural and nosocomial infections. The incidence of NTM infections is rising owing to a growing population of immunocompromised and vulnerable individuals, complex medical and surgical procedures, as well as increased awareness and diagnostic capabilities. The prevalence of different NTM varies between continents, regions, and countries. The true global burden of pulmonary and extrapulmonary disease is unknown and estimates are subject to under and/or over-estimation. Diagnosis requires confirmation by isolation of NTM along with clinical and radiological criteria, which may be suboptimal at all levels. Susceptibility testing is complex and clinical breakpoints are not available for many of the drugs. Frequently, NTM infections are not considered until late in the course of disease. Improved and rapid detection of tuberculosis cases in high-burden countries has, however, also brought NTM infections into the limelight, and has identified a need for research efforts towards rapid diagnostic tests and the identification of biomarkers to monitor the treatment response in patients with NTM infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S46-S50
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Diagnosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Non-tuberculous mycobacteria
  • Tuberculosis endemic regions


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