Isolation prevalence of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria in Ontario in 2007

Mohammed Al Houqani, Frances Jamieson, Pamela Chedore, Mauli Mehta, Kevin May, Theodore K. Marras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The reported prevalence of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections is increasing. Objective: To determine the 'isolation prevalence' of NTM in 2007 and compare it with previously published research that examined the increasing rates of isolation of NTM from clinical pulmonary specimens between 1997 and 2003. Methods: Isolation prevalence was investigated retrospectively by reviewing a cohort of all positive pulmonary NTM culture results from the Tuberculosis and Mycobacteriology Laboratory, Public Health Laboratory (Toronto, Ontario) in 2007, which identifies at least 95% of NTM isolates in Ontario. Isolation prevalence was calculated as the number of persons with a pulmonary isolate in a calendar year divided by the contemporary population and expressed per 100,000 population. Changes in isolation prevalence from previous years were assessed for statistical significance using generalized linear models with a negative binomial distribution. Results: In 2007, 4160 pulmonary isolates of NTM were collected from 2463 patients. The isolation prevalence of all species (excluding Mycobacterium gordonae) was 19 per 100,000 population in 2007 - an increase from previous observations reported for Ontario - corresponding to an average annual increase of 8.5% from 1997 to 2007 (P<0.0001). Average annual increases in isolation prevalence of Mycobacterium avium complex (8.8%, P<0.0001) and Mycobacterium xenopi (7.3%, P=0.0005) were largely responsible for the overall increase, while prevalence rates of rapidly growing mycobacteria remained relatively stable. Conclusion: The isolation prevalence of pulmonary NTM continues to increase significantly in Ontario, supporting the belief that pulmonary NTM disease is increasingly common.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-24
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian Respiratory Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Atypical
  • Epidemiology
  • MAC
  • Mycobacterium infections
  • NTM
  • Ontario

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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