Understanding Nontuberculous Mycobacterium

What causes Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Infections?

Nontuberculous mycobacterium infections are caused by mycobacteria that are found in water and soil. These germs usually do not make people sick. Nontuberculous mycobacteria are part of the broader family of bacteria that includes the germ that causes tuberculosis.

Doctors do not know why nontuberculous mycobacteria infect some people. They believe that people who get these infections already have some lung damage, an underlying illness, or a problem with their immune systems.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria infections are not contagious. They are not spread person-to-person.

The prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria has increased, but the reasons are not known.

How Serious are Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Infections?

Nontuberculous mycobacterium infections can become chronic and require ongoing treatment. Some patients, however, do not require treatment for their less severe infections.

Who Gets Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Infections?

Detailed statistics are not available, but scientists estimate the following about people who get nontuberculous mycobacterium infections:

  • Most are women.
  • The vast majority are White.

 >> Learn more about the ´╗┐symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of nontuberculous mycobacterium infections.