Microbiological features and clinical relevance of new species of the genus Mycobacterium

Enrico Tortoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are present in the environment, mainly in water, and are occasionally responsible for opportunistic infections in humans. Despite the fact thatNTMare characterized by a moderate pathogenicity, the diseases caused by NTM at various body sites are increasing on a worldwide level. Among over 150 officially recognized NTM species, only two or three dozen are familiar to clinicians, and even to most microbiologists. In this paper, approximately 50 new species described in the last 8 years are reviewed, and their role in human infections is assessed on the basis of reported clinical cases. The small number of reports concerning most of the “new” mycobacterial species is responsible for the widespread conviction that they are very rare. Their role is actually largely underestimated, mainly because they often remain unrecognized and misidentified. Aiming to minimize such bias, emphasis has been placed on more common identification pitfalls. Together with new NTM, new members of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex described in the last few years are also an object of the present review.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727-752
Number of pages26
JournalClinical Microbiology Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)


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