Isolation of non-tuberculous mycobacteria among patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in Ontario, Canada

D Damaraju, F Jamieson, P Chedore, T K Marras
International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 2013, 17 (5): 676-81

SETTING AND OBJECTIVE: There are limited data regarding the frequency and significance of co-isolating pulmonary non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB).

DESIGN: We identified all patients with culture-proven PTB in Ontario, Canada, in 2004, identified those with NTM 'co-isolation' (≤6 months following initial TB isolate) and determined subsequent NTM isolation over 5 years.

RESULTS: In 2004, 369 people in Ontario had culture-proven PTB (average age 46 years, SD 21, 41% female). NTM co-isolation occurred in 11% (40/369), including Mycobacterium avium complex 22/40 (55%), M. xenopi 7/40 (18%), M. gordonae 6/40 (15%) and others 5/40 (13%). Patients with NTM co-isolation were older (55 vs. 45 years, P = 0.004), but had similar sex ratios (females 43% vs. 40%, P = 0.87). Among patients with co-isolation, 23% (9/40) went on to have ≥2 NTM cultures (excluding initial culture), compared with 3% (10/329) in the PTB group (including initial culture, P = 0.0001). In the co-isolation group, the median (quartiles) number of samples collected for mycobacterial study was 6 (4-8) compared to 2 (1-4) in the PTB group (P < 0.0001).

CONCLUSIONS: The high frequency of subsequent NTM isolation among patients with NTM co-isolation during PTB may warrant follow-up for potential NTM disease.

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