What is Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM)?

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are types of germs found in water and soil. While they do not usually make people sick, they can cause infections in some individuals. Although it is unknown why some people are affected, it is believed that individuals who develop these infections are already suffering from some type of lung damage, an immune system problem, or an underlying illness.

NTM infections can become chronic, with severe cases requiring ongoing treatment. They are not contagious.

Symptoms of NTM

The symptoms of an NTM infection may develop gradually and include the following:

  • Fever
  • Cough (which may include blood)
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue