Epidemiology of human pulmonary infection with nontuberculous mycobacteria: a review

Clin Chest Med. 2015 Mar;36(1):13-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2014.10.002. Epub 2014 Nov 6.


Population-based data have documented a worldwide increase in the prevalence of human nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections since 2000. Mycobacterium avium complex is predominant in North America and East Asia, whereas in regions within Europe, M kansasii, M xenopi, and M malmoense are more common. Host factors important to the current epidemiology of NTM pulmonary disease include thoracic skeletal abnormalities, rheumatoid arthritis, and use of immunomodulatory drugs. Clustering of disease within families suggests a heritable genetic predisposition to disease susceptibility. Warm, humid environments with high atmospheric vapor pressure contribute to population risk.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Global; Nontuberculous mycobacteria; Pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Lung Diseases / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / epidemiology*
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / microbiology
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria / pathogenicity*
  • Prevalence