Surveillance of tuberculosis in Taipei: The influence of nontuberculous mycobacteria

Chen Yuan Chiang, Ming Chih Yu, Shiang Lin Yang, Muh Yong Yen, Kuan Jen Bai

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background Notification of tuberculosis (TB) but not nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) is mandatory in Taiwan. Partly due to the strict regulation on TB notification, several patients infected with NTM were notified as TB cases. Notification of patients infected with NTM as TB cases can trigger public health actions and impose additional burdens on the public health system. We conducted a study to assess the influence of NTM infection on surveillance of TB in Taipei. Methodology/Principal Findings The study population included all individuals with a positive culture for Mycobacterium who were citizens of Taipei City and notified as TB cases in the calendar years 2007-2010. Of the 4216 notified culture-positive tuberculosis (TB) cases, 894 (21.2%) were infected with NTM. The average annual reported case rate of infection with NTM was 8.6 (95% confidence interval 7.7-9.4) per 100,000 people. The reported case rate of NTM increased with age in both males and females. The proportion of reported TB cases infected with NTM was significantly higher in females than in males (27.6% vs 17.8%, adjusted OR (adjOR) 1.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.63-2.28); in smear-positive than in smear-negative (23.1% vs 19.2%, adjOR 1.26, 95% CI 1.08-1.47); and in previously treated cases than in new cases (35.7% vs 19.1%, adjOR 2.30, 95% CI 1.88-2.82). The most frequent species was M. avium complex (32.4%), followed by M. chelonae complex (17.6%), M. fortuitum complex (17.0%) and M. kansasii (9.8%). Of the 890 notified NTM cases assessed, 703 (79.0%) were treated with anti-TB drugs, and 730 (82.0%) were de-notified. Conclusions/Significance The influence of NTM on surveillance of TB in Taipei was substantial. Health authorities should take action to ensure that nucleic acid amplification tests are performed in all smear-positive cases in a timely manner to reduce the misdiagnosis of patients infected with NTM as TB cases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0142324
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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