Accumulating evidence suggests that human infections caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are increasing worldwide, indicating that NTM disease is no longer uncommon in many countries. As a result of an increasing emphasis on the importance of differential identification of NTM species, several molecular tools have recently been introduced in clinical and experimental settings. These advances have led to a much better understanding of the diversity of NTM species with regard to clinical aspects and the potential factors responsible for drug resistance that influence the different outcomes of NTM disease. In this paper, we review currently available molecular diagnostics for identification and differentiation of NTM species by summarizing data from recently applied methods, including commercially available assays, and their relevant strengths and weaknesses. We also highlight drug resistance-associated genes in clinically important NTM species. Understanding the basis for different treatment outcomes with different causative species and drug-resistance mechanisms will eventually improve current treatment regimens and facilitate the development of better control measures for NTM diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases