Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are a heterogeneous group of microorganisms other than Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) complex and Mycobacterium leprae. NTM infections have increased globally and are now considered an emerging infection as they are often encountered in developed countries. NTMs require extended treatment adding considerably to the economic burden. The increasing number of patients with immunocompromised disorders, increasing usage of immunosuppressive agents, general awareness of the NTM diseases due to the advancement in molecular diagnostic techniques and aging of the population increase the prevalence rate of NTM infections. However, several barriers such as the requirement of better diagnostic techniques, settled treatment guidelines, clinician awareness and knowledge of pathogenesis are limiting and NTM infections are often not treated promptly. Etiology and epidemiology of NTM infections [Mmycobacterium avium complex (slowly growing mycobacteria, SGM) and rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM)] are discussed in this chapter. Clinical features, diagnosis and currently available treatment guidelines for these infections in skin, eye and lung are summarized. Suggestions for future research directions are suggested particularly for the better understanding of host-pathogen crosstalk and new therapeutic strategies.
Part of the book: Basic Biology and Applications of Actinobacteria