Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous in the environment and a well-known cause of lymphadenitis, skin and soft tissue infections. The aim of this study was to evaluate the epidemiology of extrapulmonary pediatric NTM infections occurring from 2000 to 2017 in Queensland, Australia.
All cases of NTM and TB are notifiable under the Queensland Public Health Act (2005) and associated regulations (2005). Data from 2000 to 2017 inclusive was collected from the Notifiable Conditions Database, a laboratory based notification system that covers private and public laboratory systems. Pediatric population demographic data were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics by researching the number of children 0–14 years of age in Queensland from 2000 to 2017; both annual and averaged population was determined. The statistical software SPSS and Tableau was used for analysis.
The mean age of diagnosis was 2.5 years with a majority of the cohort being women. Mycobacterium avium was the most commonly diagnosed pathogen. Geographic regions with the highest numbers of cases were predominantly tropical and coastal areas. M. haemophilum emerged as a more common pathogen from 2011 following a period of major flooding.
Characteristics of the cohort of children susceptible to NTM disease appears consistent with previous reports. However, changes in the epidemiology of NTM infection (such as incidence, species, and geographic distribution) in children may be linked to environmental and weather factors.