Geographic variation in the aetiology, epidemiology and microbiology of bronchiectasis

BMC Pulm Med. 2018 May 22;18(1):83. doi: 10.1186/s12890-018-0638-0.


Bronchiectasis is a disease associated with chronic progressive and irreversible dilatation of the bronchi and is characterised by chronic infection and associated inflammation. The prevalence of bronchiectasis is age-related and there is some geographical variation in incidence, prevalence and clinical features. Most bronchiectasis is reported to be idiopathic however post-infectious aetiologies dominate across Asia especially secondary to tuberculosis. Most focus to date has been on the study of airway bacteria, both as colonisers and causes of exacerbations. Modern molecular technologies including next generation sequencing (NGS) have become invaluable tools to identify microorganisms directly from sputum and which are difficult to culture using traditional agar based methods. These have provided important insight into our understanding of emerging pathogens in the airways of people with bronchiectasis and the geographical differences that occur. The contribution of the lung microbiome, its ethnic variation, and subsequent roles in disease progression and response to therapy across geographic regions warrant further investigation. This review summarises the known geographical differences in the aetiology, epidemiology and microbiology of bronchiectasis. Further, we highlight the opportunities offered by emerging molecular technologies such as -omics to further dissect out important ethnic differences in the prognosis and management of bronchiectasis.

Keywords: Aspergillus spp.; Bronchiectasis; Fungi; Microbiome; Mycobiome; Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bronchiectasis / epidemiology*
  • Bronchiectasis / etiology*
  • Bronchiectasis / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Geography, Medical
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Microbiota*