For Clinicians: Best Practices for Pulmonary Nontuberculous Mycobacteria


25 July 2017

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are organisms that can naturally be found in soil and water, including treated drinking water distribution systems and showerheads and faucets. Human NTM infections most often occur in the lungs (pulmonary) and typically cause slowly progressing respiratory and systemic symptoms. NTM infections are becoming increasingly common in Canada2, so it’s important to have updated information to understand the epidemiology and clinical management of NTM.

Best Practices for Pulmonary Nontuberculous Mycobacteria is a new resource that provides clinicians such as: chronic disease managers, family physicians, internal medicine and respirologists and infectious disease practitioners an overview of human NTM infections, including:

  • sample collection and microbiology
  • diagnostic and treatment criteria 
  • clinical presentations
  • treatment

The report also highlights the emerging evidence of potential human-to-human transmission involving cystic fibrosis patients and addresses the potential methods for reducing exposure to environmental pathogens for at-risk individuals.

This resource was developed by the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (PIDAC-CD), Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Working Group, with support from Public Health Ontario.

For more information, please contact  

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Updated 25 July 2017