AD McCallum, SW Watkin, JF Faccenda



Non-tuberculous mycobacteria are opportunist pathogens increasingly recognised as a cause of pulmonary and extrapulmonary disease. Treatment is complicated, prolonged and potentially toxic, and due to a limited evidence base, potentially contentious and idiosyncratic. This is a retrospective review of nontuberculous mycobacteria cases in the NHS Borders Health Board between 1992 and 2010. We consider incidence, species identified, drug sensitivity testing and treatment outcome with reference to the British and American Thoracic Society guidelines. Thirty-eight cases of non-tuberculous mycobacteria isolates were identified; 84.21% were pulmonary and 42.11% were Mycobacterium avium complex. Incidence rose from 1.92/100,000 in 1993 to 4.43/100,000 in 2010. The British Thoracic Society guidelines were followed in 45.45% of cases. A total of 36.36% were successfully treated with another 36.36% still being treated with antimicrobials. There is a clear need for more research on treatment for this group of ‘emerging pathogens’ and it remains to be seen if concordance with current guidelines will improve treatment outcomes.

Keywords Non-tuberculous mycobacteria, BTS guidelines, epidemiology

Declaration of Interests No conflict of interests declared.