European Respiratory Society
Respiratory infections associated with nontuberculous mycobacteria in non-HIV patients
The incidence of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) pulmonary diseases in HIV-negative patients was studied prospectively from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2003 by 32 sentinel sites distributed throughout France. In total, 262 patients who yielded NTM isolates from respiratory clinical specimens, met the bacteriological, radiological and clinical criteria established by the American Thoracic Society for NTM respiratory disease. Among the 262 NTM isolates, 234 were slow-growing mycobacteria (125 Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex (MAC), 66 M. xenopi , 34 M. kansasii ) and 28 were rapidly growing mycobacteria (25 M. abscessus complex). In the Paris area, M. xenopi was the most frequently isolated species, followed by MAC. Most patients (>50%), except those with M. kansasii , had underlying predisposing factors such as pre-existing pulmonary disease or immune deficiency. Asthenia, weight loss, chronic cough and dyspnoea were the most common clinical symptoms. The classical radiological appearance of NTM infections was indistinguishable from that observed in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis. In summary, the incidence of nontuberculous mycobacteria pulmonary infections in HIV-negative patients was estimated at 0.74, 0.73 and 0.72 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 2001, 2002 and 2003, respectively.