Nontuberculous mycobacteria in patients registered in a tuberculosis control program in Southwestern Colombia, 2014-2017


Full text


micobacteria no tuberculosa
enfermedad pulmonar
Mycobacterium spp
tratamiento tuberculosis Nontuberculous mycobacteria
pulmonary disease
Mycobacterium spp
tuberculosis treatment

How to Cite

Delgado, L. E., Escobar, D. R., Hoyos, D. M., Luna, L., Pacheco López, R., & Ferro, B. E. (2021). Nontuberculous mycobacteria in patients registered in a tuberculosis control program in Southwestern Colombia, 2014-2017. Interdisciplinary Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health, 2(1), e–017. (Original work published March 10, 2020)


Introduction: Pulmonary disease produced by nontuberculous mycobacteria and pulmonary tuberculosis can share clinical signs and symptoms. It is important to discern one from the other in order to provide the proper treatment and programmatic management.

Objective: To describe the frequency of nontuberculous mycobacteria isolated from patients registered in the tuberculosis control program in Cali.

Methods: We conducted a descriptive study to know what extent of the pulmonary tuberculosis load in Cali-Colombia corresponds to nontuberculous mycobacteria, in a four-year period, 2014-2017. Demographic (sex, age, health insurance), clinical (diagnosis dates, laboratory data, comorbidities) and programmatic data (tuberculosis treatment initiation and duration) was collected for statistical analysis.

Results: Of 3,651 patients registered in the local tuberculosis program with an initial diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis, 2,904 had sputum culture and among them 1.5% (43/2904) had nontuberculous mycobacteria isolation rather than Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Most of the nontuberculous mycobacteria isolates were not identified at the species level; M. fortuitum and M. abscessus were the most common species identified. 86% of patients initiated unnecessary tuberculosis treatment.

Conclusion: Nontuberculous mycobacteria isolation from pulmonary samples could be frequent in patients registered in the tuberculosis program in Cali, Colombia. The lack of clinical suspicion, the limited laboratory infrastructure, and the absence of a reporting system could be contributing factors to underestimate the importance of nontuberculous mycobacteria in this setting. We recommend that nontuberculous mycobacteria identification should be considered for public health intervention.
Full text


van Ingen J, Ferro BE, Hoefsloot W, van Soolingen D. Drug treatment of pulmonary antituberculous mycobacterial disease in HIV negative patients: the evidence. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther 2013:11:1065–1077. doi: 10.1586/14787210.2013.830413.

Shahraki AH, Heidarieh P, Bostanabad SZ, Khosravi AD, Hashemzadeh M, Khandan S, et al. “Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis” may be nontuberculous mycobacteria. Eur J Intern Med. 2015;26:279–84. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2015.03.001.

Raju RM, Raju SM, Zhao Y, Rubin EJ. Leveraging advances in tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment to address nontuberculous mycobacterial disease. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016;22:365-9. doi: 10.3201/eid2203.151643.

Llerena C, Valbuena A, Zabaleta AP. Mycobacterioses identified in the National Reference Laboratory of Colombia from 2012 to 2016. Biomedica. 2018;38:87-94. doi: 10.7705/biomedica.v38i0.4143.

Crespo MP, Heli Corral R, Alzate A, Carrasquilla G, Sánchez N. Mycobacterial infections in HIV-infected patients in Cali, Colombia. Rev Panam Salud Publica. 1999; 6:249-55. doi:10.1590/s1020-49891999000900004

Secretaría de Salud Pública de Santiago de Cali. Boletín epidemiológico Santiago de Cali 2011-2012. April 2013 [cited 2017 Dec 15]. Available from:

Hoefsloot W, Van Ingen J, Andrejak C, Ängeby K, Bauriaud R, Bemer P, et al. The geographic diversity of nontuberculous mycobacteria isolated from pulmonary samples: An NTM-NET collaborative study. Eur Respir J. 2013;42:1604-13. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00149212.

Carneiro M dos S, Nunes L de S, David SMM De, Dias CF, Barth AL, Unis G, et al. Nontuberculous mycobacterial lung disease in a high tuberculosis incidence setting in Brazil. J Bras Pneumol. 2018;44:106-11. doi: 10.1590/s1806-37562017000000213

de Mello KGC, Mello FC, Borga L, Rolla V, Duarte RS, Sampaio EP, et al. Clinical and therapeutic features of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial disease, Brazil, 1993-2011. Emerg Infect Dis. 2013;19:393-9. doi:

Otchere I, Asante-Poku A, Osei-Wusu S, Aboagye S, Yeboah-Manu D. Isolation and characterization of nontuberculous mycobacteria from patients with pulmonary tuberculosis in Ghana. Int J Mycobacteriology. 2017;6:70-5. doi: 10.4103/2212-5531.201895.

Donohue MJ. Increasing nontuberculous mycobacteria reporting rates and species diversity identified in clinical laboratory reports. BMC Infect Dis. 2018;18:163. doi: 10.1186/s12879-018-3043-7.

Griffith DE, Aksamit T, Brown-Elliott BA, Catanzaro A, Daley C, Gordin F, et al. An official ATS/IDSA statement: Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nontuberculous mycobacterial diseases. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2007;175:367–416. doi:10.1164/rccm.200604-571ST

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2019 Interdisciplinary Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health


Download data is not yet available.