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Increasing isolation of rapidly growing mycobacteria in a low-incidence setting of environmental mycobacteria, 1994–2015

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Abstract

To determine trends in incidence and clinical relevance of rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM) in a low-prevalence region of non-tuberculous mycobacteria. We retrospectively identified all patients with RGM-positive cultures between January 1994 and December 2015. Trends in incidence, clinical significance, and outcomes were assessed. One hundred and forty patients had RGM-positive cultures (116 respiratory and 24 extra-respiratory sources). The incidence of RGM isolates increased steadily from 2003 (0.34 per 100,000) to 2015 (1.73 per 100,000), with an average annual increase of 8.3%. Thirty-two patients (22.9%) had clinical disease, which trended to cluster in the second half of the study period. A positive acid-fast bacilli smear (odds ratio [OR] 97.7, 95 % CI 13.8–689.4), the presence of extra-respiratory isolates (OR 19.4, 95 % CI 5.2–72.7), and female gender (OR 5.9, 95 % CI 1.9–19.1) were independently associated with clinical disease. Cure rates were 73.3 and 87.5% for pulmonary and extra-pulmonary disease respectively. Although the burden of disease remains low, the presence of RGM isolates is increasing in our geographical setting. Whether this rise will be sustained over time and will coincide with an increase in clinical disease, or whether it is merely a cycle in the poorly understood epidemiological behaviour of environmental mycobacteria, will be seen in the near future.

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Correspondence to M. Santin.

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All the authors declare having no conflict of interest.

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The ethical committee of the Bellvitge University Hospital approved the study (Ref.: PR130/14). Informed consent was not required due to the retrospective design of the study.

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Alcaide, F., Peña, M.J., Pérez-Risco, D. et al. Increasing isolation of rapidly growing mycobacteria in a low-incidence setting of environmental mycobacteria, 1994–2015. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 36, 1425–1432 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-017-2949-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10096-017-2949-0

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