Environmental Niches for NTM and Their Impact on NTM Disease

  • Leah LandeEmail author
Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous inhabitants of natural and man-made water sources as well as outdoor and indoor dusts and soils. Individuals that are susceptible to NTM pulmonary disease are likely acquiring infection through inhalation of aerosolized organisms and possibly also from aspiration of ingested organisms. Numerous studies have documented the colonization of municipal water supplies, commercial and institutional plumbing, and household plumbing with NTM. In addition, NTM have been found in high numbers in various natural and man-made dusts and soils. This chapter will review the current knowledge regarding environmental sources of NTM and the complex factors associated with their survival and transmissibility to humans. Interventions seeking to reduce numbers of NTM in the environment require further study, but avoidance of activities associated with a high risk of aerosolization of water, dusts, and soils can be recommended to individuals with host factors that deem them susceptible to NTM disease.


Nontuberculous mycobacteria Mycobacterium avium complex Environment Water Aerosol Plumbing 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineLankenau Medical CenterWynnewoodUSA
  2. 2.Lankenau Institute for Medical ResearchWynnewoodUSA

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