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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-6

The unexplained increase of nontuberculous mycobacteriosis


1 Hospital of León, Unit of Investigation; Institute of Biomedicine, University of León, León; Health Sciences Institute Foundation of Castile and Leon, Soria, Spain
2 Hospital of León, Unit of Investigation, León, Spain
3 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA

Correspondence Address:
Octavio Miguel Rivero-Lezcano
Hospital of León, Unit of Investigation, Altos de Nava, S/N, 24071, León
Spain
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_18_19

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Epidemiological data show a worldwide increase in nontuberculous mycobacteriosis. Although it has been partially attributed to the improvement of microbiological methodologies that has allowed a better recovery and identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), it is generally accepted that there is a genuine incidence augmentation. The reasons of the increase are likely multifactorial, depending on the nature of the pathogen, the host, and their interaction. Mycobacteria from the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex has been regarded as pathogenic and NTM as opportunistic and nontransmissible. Nevertheless, few differences have been found in either their phenotypic or genotypic characteristics. The phenomenon of M. tuberculosis adaptation to the human host may be taking place again in NTM as a consequence of human environmental alterations that facilitate the interaction with the pathogen. The current worsening of the immunological status of increasing numbers of individuals, a result of factors such as malnutrition (obesity and diabetes), population aging or the widespread use of immunosuppressive medication, may be allowing the rapid evolution and person-to-person transmission of NTM. It is likely that mycobacteriosis incidence will keep escalating. New measures should be taken to deal with these diseases, including their reportability and the implementation of strain genotyping that would shed light on the NTM dissemination routes from the environment or human hosts.


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