Epidemiology of nontuberculous mycobacteria isolations among central North Carolina residents, 2006-2010

Genee S. Smith, Andrew J. Ghio, Jason E. Stout, Kyle P. Messier, Edward E. Hudgens, Mark S. Murphy, Stacy L. Pfaller, Jean Marie Maillard, Elizabeth D. Hilborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are environmental mycobacteria associated with a range of infections. Reports of NTM epidemiology have primarily focused on pulmonary infections and isolations, however extrapulmonary infections of the skin, soft tissues and sterile sites are less frequently described. Methods: We comprehensively reviewed laboratory reports of NTM isolation from North Carolina residents of three counties during 2006-2010. We describe age, gender, and race of patients, and anatomic site of isolation for NTM species. Results: Among 1033 patients, overall NTM isolation prevalence was 15.9/100,000 persons (13.7/100,000 excluding Mycobacterium gordonae). Prevalence was similar between genders and increased significantly with age. Extrapulmonary isolations among middle-aged black males and pulmonary isolations among elderly white females were most frequently detected. Most isolations from pulmonary sites and blood cultures were Mycobacterium avium complex; rapidly growing NTM (e.g. Mycobacterium chelonae, Mycobacterium fortuitum) were most often isolated from paranasal sinuses, wounds and skin. Conclusions: We provide the first characterization of NTM isolation prevalence in the Southeastern United States (U.S.). Variation in isolation prevalence among counties and races likely represent differences in detection, demographics and risk factors. Further characterization of NTM epidemiology is increasingly important as percentages of immunocompromised individuals and the elderly increase in the U.S. population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-686
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental mycobacteria
  • Epidemiology
  • Human
  • Isolation prevalence
  • Mycobacteria
  • Mycobacterium avium complex
  • Nontuberculous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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