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What is Nontuberculous Mycobacteria?

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM), also known as atypical Tuberculosis (Atypical TB) or Mycobacterium other than Tuberculosis (MOTT), is a bacteria that is found in water, some domestic and wild animals, and soil. NTM is a primary cause of respiratory disease in humans and is a leading cause of death in HIV/AIDS patients.

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria consists of all species of mycobacteria that do not cause Tuberculosis. There are over 20 different types of Nontuberculous Mycobacteria, which include:

  • M. avium
  • M. phlei
  • M. intracellulare
  • M. nonchromogenicum
  • M. celatum
  • M. paraffinicum
  • M. intracellulare
  • M. szulgai
  • M. scrofulaceum
  • M. terrae
  • M. kansasii
  • N. asteroides
  • M. smegmatis
  • N. brasiliensis
  • M. chelonei
  • N. otitidiscaviarum (caviae)
  • M. abscessus
  • N. farcinica
  • M. fortuitum

How is NTM Spread?

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria is a non-contagious bacterium that is found in water, some domestic and wild animals, and soil. It is not fully understood how people become infected with NTM. Many medical professionals believe that patients that have pre-existing lung conditions, including emphysema and HIV/AIDS often times are at greater risk for acquiring an NTM infection.

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