Rationale: Pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria (PNTM) are an important cause of morbidity among older adults in the United States, but national prevalence estimates are lacking.
Objectives: To describe the prevalence and trends of PNTM disease among adults aged 65 years or older throughout the United States.
Methods: A nationally representative 5% sample of Medicare Part B beneficiaries was analyzed from 1997 to 2007. Demographic and medical claims data were compiled and prevalence estimates for PNTM and selected comorbidities were calculated and trends over time evaluated. Logistic regression was used to identify demographic and geographic factors associated with PNTM.
Measurements and main results: From 1997 to 2007, the annual prevalence significantly increased from 20 to 47 cases/100,000 persons, or 8.2% per year. The period prevalence was 112 cases/100,000 persons, although prevalence was twofold higher among Asians/Pacific Islanders than among whites (228 vs. 116 cases/100,000 persons). Western states had the highest period prevalence at 149 cases/100,000 persons, with Hawaii having the highest prevalence at 396 cases/100,000 persons, followed by southeastern states, which had a period prevalence of 131 cases/100,000 persons. PNTM cases had more comorbid conditions than noncases and were 40% more likely to die than noncases. Women were 1.4 times more likely to be a PNTM case than men. Relative to whites, Asians/Pacific Islanders were twice as likely to be a case, whereas blacks were half as likely.
Conclusions: The prevalence of PNTM is increasing across all regions of the United States and among both men and women. Significant racial/ethnic and geographic differences suggest important gene-environment interactions.