In recent decades, the incidence and prevalence of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have greatly increased, becoming a major worldwide public health problem. Among numerous NTM species, the Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is the most predominant species, causing disease in humans. MAC is recognized as a ubiquitous microorganism, with contaminated water and soil being established sources of infection. However, the reason for the recent increase in MAC-associated disease has not yet been fully elucidated. Furthermore, human MAC infections are associated with a variety of infection sources. To improve the determination of infection sources and epidemiology of MAC, feasible and reliable genotyping methods are required to allow for the characterization of the epidemiology and biology of MAC. In this review, we discuss genotyping methods, such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, a variable number of tandem repeats, mycobacterial interspersed repetitive-unit-variable number of tandem repeats, and repetitive element sequence-based PCR that have been applied to elucidate the association between the MAC genotypes and epidemiological dominance, clinical phenotypes, evolutionary process, and control measures of infection. Characterizing the association between infection sources and the epidemiology of MAC will allow for the development of novel preventive strategies for the effective control of MAC infection.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)