ISSN: 0973-7510

E-ISSN: 2581-690X

Review Article | Open Access
T. Kalpana1 , M. Mugunthan2, Noyal Maria Joseph3 and Kalaiarasan Ellappan4
1Department of Virology, CMC Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.
2Department of Microbiology, AIIMS Kalyani, West Bengal, India.
3Department of Microbiology, JIPMER, Pondicherry, India.
4ESIC Medical College, Bangalore – 560 010, Karnataka, India.
J Pure Appl Microbiol. 2022;16(2):814-824 | Article Number: 7420 | © The Author(s). 2022
Received: 09/11/2021 | Accepted: 14/03/2022 | Published online: 27/05/2022
Issue online: June 2022

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are free-living organisms ubiquitously present in the environment. In recent times, NTM gained much importance due to the increase in incidence globally. They are potential agents in causing both pulmonary and extrapulmonary infections in both immunocompromised and immunocompetent individuals. The problem arises when the possible NTM cases are misdiagnosed as drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). Hence, it is essential to correctly identify the NTMs causing disease due to two major reasons. One is to prevent clinicians from starting anti-tuberculous drugs and the other is that treatment regimen differs for certain NTM from tuberculosis. Apart from conventional methods like smear microscopy, culture, in the current era newer diagnostic modalities like matrix-assisted laser desorption of ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI TOF MS), line probe assay, genomic sequencing, are used in referral laboratories which allows identification and speciation of the organism. A thorough literature search was done in PubMed, Google Scholar, Cochrane Library, Embase, Scopus on nontuberculous mycobacteria. The search keywords include nontuberculous mycobacteria, atypical mycobacteria, case reports, and original articles on NTM. In this review, we have summarised the current knowledge on epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical features, and treatment of NTM.


Nontuberculous mycobacteria, Epidemiology, Pathogenesis, Clinical features, Management, Drug resistance

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© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License which permits unrestricted use, sharing, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.