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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 5035932, 13 pages
Review Article

Nontuberculous Mycobacteria in Saudi Arabia and Gulf Countries: A Review

Department of Infection and Immunity, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence should be addressed to Sahal Al-Hajoj

Received 7 November 2016; Revised 5 January 2017; Accepted 1 February 2017; Published 27 February 2017

Academic Editor: Isabella Annesi-Maesano

Copyright © 2017 Hawra Al-Ghafli and Sahal Al-Hajoj. 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 causing growing health problems worldwide. This is indicated by an increasing amount of scientific reports showing not only well-identified species reemerging but also emergence of new species. The emergence and reemergence of NTM are particularly worrying in developing countries due to scarce published data and improper identification. Here we aimed to examine the main epidemiological aspects and diagnostic challenges associated with NTM in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and compare these findings to the international arena findings. Data revealed that countries of the GCC are largely dominated by rapidly growing mycobacteria species such as M. fortuitum (29%) and M. abscessus (17%) with high rate of definitive respiratory diseases. On the other hand, most of the developed countries are dominated by slowly growing mycobacteria such as MAC, M. kansasii, and M. gordonae. More efforts are needed, however, to gain insights into NTM issues in countries of the GCC.