Nontuberculous mycobacteria in Middle East: Current situation and future challenges

Ali Akbar Velayati, Sanaz Rahideh, Zahra Derakhshani Nezhad, Parissa Farnia, Mehdi Mirsaeidi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are a diverse group of bacterial species that are distributed in the environment. Many of these environmental bacteria can cause disease in humans. The identification of NTM in environmental sources is important for both clinical and epidemiological purposes. In this study, the distribution of NTM species from environmental and clinical samples in the Middle East was reviewed. In order to provide an overview of NTM, as well as recent epidemiological trends, all studies addressing NTM in the Middle East from 1984 to 2014 were reviewed.A total of 96 articles were found, in which 1751 NTM strains were isolated and 1084 of which were obtained from clinical samples, 619 from environmental samples and 48 were cited by case reports.Mycobacterium fortuitum was the most common rapid growing mycobacteria (RGM) isolated from both clinical (269 out of 447 RGM; 60.1%) and environmental (135 out of 289 RGM; 46.7%) samples. Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) was the most common slow growing mycobacteria (SGM) isolated from clinical samples (140 out of 637 SGM; 21.9%). An increasing trend in NTM isolation from the Middle East was noted over the last 5. years. This review demonstrates the increasing concern regarding NTM disease in the Middle East, emphasizing the need for regional collaboration and coordination in order to respond appropriately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Mycobacteriology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical samples
  • Environmental samples
  • Middle East
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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