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Nationwide increasing incidence of Nontuberculous Mycobacterial diseases among adults in Denmark- eighteen years of follow-up.

Chest 2024 March 17
BACKGROUND: The epidemiology of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections is not well described. In this study, we determined the incidence and prevalence of NTM infections and focused on social risk factors. Additionally, we described persons suffering from pulmonary and extrapulmonary NTM.

RESEARCH QUESTION: What is the incidence and prevalence of NTM and what are the characteristics of the affected patients?

METHODS: This is a nationwide retrospective register-based cohort study in Denmark. Adult patients with NTM diagnosis in the Danish national registers from 2000-2017 were classified as having either pulmonary or extrapulmonary NTM disease.

RESULTS: We identified 1,146 adults with an NTM diagnosis. 661 patients had pulmonary NTM of which 50.4% were male, while 485 had extrapulmonary NTM of which 59.6% were male. The median age (Interquartile range), was 66 years (18) and 57 years (32), respectively. The yearly incidence rate per 100,000 increased between 2000 and 2017 for both pulmonary (0.4 to 1.3) and extrapulmonary NTM (0.3 to 0.6). The annual prevalence per 100,000 increased from 0.4 to 3.5 for pulmonary and 0.3 to 1.0 for extrapulmonary NTM. The incidence rate increased with age. The incidence of pulmonary NTM was highest in 70+ year-olds (19.3 per 100,000). Compared to pulmonary NTM patients, extrapulmonary NTM patients were more likely to be employed and had a higher educational level.

INTERPRETATION: The prevalence of NTM disease in Denmark increased between 2000 and 2017. Pulmonary and extrapulmonary NTM patients are two distinct groups that differ in age, gender, education, and employment status. Increased suspicion of pulmonary NTM disease is warranted in the elderly after exclusion of more common lung infections.

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