Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week

HomePatientsLung Disease Week at the ATS2018 ▶ Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week
Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Week

NTM Week

Welcome Message

NTM stands for nontuberculous mycobacteria, which cause diseases that are quite different from tuberculosis. These mycobacteria are members of the same family as tuberculosis and leprosy, but unlike those organisms, they are live in the common environment, such as water and soil, and virtually never cause contagious human disease. There are more than 150 different species, which vary greatly in their ability to cause disease, but almost all are less virulent than Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Infections from these bacteria are increasing, and in many areas of countries that have controlled tuberculosis these infections are up to 8 times more common than tuberculosis.

The disease they cause most often occurs in the bronchi, where they are associated with cough, sputum, and coughing up blood (hemoptysis), and a disease called bronchiectasis. The infection may penetrate into the lungs and uncommonly invade other organs, especially if there is immune deficiency. Other common symptoms are fatigue and weight loss.

The diseases are difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat. They are vastly understudied: there is no good diagnostic test, no good treatment, and insufficient knowledge about how and why people are infected and about how to prevent, cure, and control them.


Mitchell Olman, MD, MA

Dean E. Schraufnagel, MD
Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep, and Allergy
Department of Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago

Kristin Highland, MD

Susan Wisliceny
Executive Director, NTM Info & Research, Inc.
Member, ATS Public Advisory Roundtable


ATS NTM Disease Partner
NTM Info & Research, Inc.



NTM Info & Research (NTMir) is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed on behalf of patients with pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) disease for the purpose of patient support, medical education and research. NTMir serves patients and physicians concerned with NTM.

"The ATS Lung Disease Week Web site is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, a diagnosis from a physician, or direct medical care. If you are concerned about your health or that of a family member, please consult your family's healthcare provider immediately. Do not wait for a response from our members, staff or partners.”