The reported prevalence of pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections is increasing.
To determine the 'isolation prevalence' of NTM in 2007 and compare it with previously published research that examined the increasing rates of isolation of NTM from clinical pulmonary specimens between 1997 and 2003.
Isolation prevalence was investigated retrospectively by reviewing a cohort of all positive pulmonary NTM culture results from the Tuberculosis and Mycobacteriology Laboratory, Public Health Laboratory (Toronto, Ontario) in 2007, which identifies at least 95% of NTM isolates in Ontario. Isolation prevalence was calculated as the number of persons with a pulmonary isolate in a calendar year divided by the contemporary population and expressed per 100,000 population. Changes in isolation prevalence from previous years were assessed for statistical significance using generalized linear models with a negative binomial distribution.
In 2007, 4160 pulmonary isolates of NTM were collected from 2463 patients. The isolation prevalence of all species (excluding Mycobacterium gordonae) was 19 per 100,000 population in 2007 - an increase from previous observations reported for Ontario - corresponding to an average annual increase of 8.5% from 1997 to 2007 (P
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