What is the prevalence of mycobacterium chelonae infection in the US?

Updated: Dec 20, 2018
  • Author: Alfred Scott Lea, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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M chelonae and the other RGM are not reportable infections in the United States, and the true prevalence is unknown. Most of the NTM have been shown to have geographic variation in the United States. M chelonae can occour anywhere in the United States, but the prevalence of M chelonae/abcessus cases is increased cases in the southern and coastal states of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. [1, 25]

The first national survey evaluating the prevalence of NTM in the United States was done between 1981 and 1983, and it showed an annual disease prevalence of 1.78 NTM cases per 100,000 persons, with M chelonae/abcessus reported as 0.08 case per 100,000 persons. [31] NTM lung disease in hospitalized patients was studied from 1998 to 2005 in 11 states and showed increasing prevalence with age in men and women, with some variation between states. [32] In Oregon from 2005 to 2006, individuals meeting a strict case definition for NTM disease were studied, with a reported annualized prevalence of 7.2 cases per 100,000 persons. In that study, M chelonae prevalence was 0.2 case per 100,000 persons, with the majority of cases isolated from skin and soft tissue infections. [33]

Overall, it appears that NTM prevalence is increasing in certain populations and geographic areas throughout the country, but the degree to which M chelonae specifically contributes is uncertain. It represents a smaller percentage of these infections than other NTM species.

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