Although there has been a drastic decline in the cases of Tuberculosis in the United States, the prevalence of infections caused by Mycobacterium avium Complex (MAC) has steadily increased in the past decades. Mycobacterium avium (M. avium) is one of the most abundant microorganisms in the MAC species. The mycobacterium genus is divided into two major groups: tuberculosis causing mycobacteria and non-tuberculous mycobacteria. MAC is most prominent among the non-tuberculous mycobacteria. MAC is an opportunistic pathogen that is present in soil, water, and droplets in the air. MAC infections can result in respiratory disease and can disseminate in affected patients. MAC infections are especially prevalent in patients with preexisting respiratory conditions such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is one of the most common lung conditions in the world with the primary cause being smoking in developed countries. COPD involves chronic inflammation of lung tissue resulting in increased susceptibility to infection. There is a lack of research regarding the pathophysiology that leads COPD patients to be susceptible to MAC infection. Our review paper therefore aims to investigate how the pathogenicity of MAC bacteria and immune decline seen in COPD patients leads to a greater susceptibility to MAC infection among COPD patients.
Keywords: M. avium infections; Mycobacterium avium complex; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; non-tuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease; tuberculosis.