Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 254285, 10 pages
Review Article

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Isolation from Clinical and Environmental Samples in Iran: Twenty Years of Surveillance

1Mycobacteriology Research Centre, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 19575-154, Tehran 19569-44413, Iran
2Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Department of Medicine M/C 719, University of Illinois at Chicago, 840 S. Wood Street, Chicago, IL 60612-7323, USA

Received 27 July 2014; Accepted 17 September 2014

Academic Editor: Stefano Aliberti

Copyright © 2015 Ali Akbar Velayati et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are opportunistic pathogens that are widely distributed in the environment. There is a lack of data on species distribution of these organisms from Iran. This study consists of a review of NTM articles published in Iran between the years 1992 and 2014. In this review, 20 articles and 14 case reports were identified. Among the 20 articles, 13 (65%) studies focused on NTM isolates from clinical specimens, 6 (30%) studies examined NTM isolates from environmental samples, and one (5%) article included both clinical and environmental isolates. M. fortuitum (229/997; 23%) was recorded as the most prevalent and rapid growing mycobacteria (RGM) species in both clinical (28%) and environmental (19%) isolated samples (P < 0.05). Among slow growing mycobacteria (SGM), M. simiae (103/494; 21%) demonstrated a higher frequency in clinical samples whereas in environmental samples it was M. flavescens (44/503; 9%). These data represent information from 14 provinces out of 31 provinces of Iran. No information is available in current published data on clinical or environmental NTM from the remaining 17 provinces in Iran. These results emphasize the potential importance of NTM as well as the underestimation of NTM frequency in Iran. NTM is an important clinical problem associated with significant morbidity and mortality in Iran. Continued research is needed from both clinical and environmental sources to help clinicians and researchers better understand and address NTM treatment and prevention.