Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana from 1994 to 2012
Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous environmental organisms able to cause severe opportunistic human infections. Their distribution patterns are subject to geographical variations. This study describes their isolation frequencies from clinical specimen in the three French overseas departments of the Americas, namely, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and French Guiana during 1994–2012. A total of 651 strains from as many patients (one isolate per species per patient) were analysed regarding regional isolation patterns and potential pattern changes over time. The Mycobacterium avium complex was the most common group of NTM in Guadeloupe and French Guiana. In Martinique it was the second most common after the rapidly growing mycobacteria. M. fortuitum was the most commonly isolated species in all three departments. Some species (M. kansasii, M. xenopi, and M. terrae complex) displayed a clear regional preference. Furthermore a change in isolation frequency was observed for M. intracellulare (increase) and M. kansasii (decrease) in Guadeloupe. In conclusion, marked regional differences in isolation frequencies of NTM species were observed in the study area. Results are discussed in context of variables such as study populations, risk factors, methodology employed, isolation from pulmonary versus sterile isolation sites (blood, urine, and CSF), and in vitro drug-susceptibility patterns.