Environment or Host?: A Case-control Study of Risk Factors for Mycobacterium Avium Complex Lung Disease.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine (2012)


August 2012, Public Health Sciences Division


RATIONALE: Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease is an increasingly common and chronically debilitating problem. Several host traits have been suggested or confirmed as risk factors. Potential environmental and behavioral risk factors have also been proposed. Few have been evaluated in comparative studies. OBJECTIVES: To determine if aerosol-generating activities in the home and garden, features of the home water supply, or several pulmonary and immune-compromising conditions are associated with Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease. METHODS: Cases were recruited from academic medical centers and via informal referrals from non-university practices in Washington and Oregon. Controls were recruited via random-digit dialing and matched to cases by age, gender, and partial telephone number. Associations were measured as odds ratios estimated using conditional logistic regression. MEASUREMENTS: Known and potential risk factors were measured by in-home interview. MAIN RESULTS: Fifty-two matched pairs were studied. Six of 12 examined host traits were associated with disease, including history of COPD (OR=10, 95% CI 1.2-80), pneumonia hospitalization (OR=3.4, 95% CI 1.1-11), and steroid use (OR=8.0 95% CI 1.6-41). In contrast, 11 of the 14 aerosol-generating activities and all 5 features of home water supply studied bore little or no association with disease. CONCLUSIONS: Aerosol-generating activities appear not to be risk factors for Mycobacterium avium complex lung disease in HIV-negative adults, but prior lung disease and immune-suppressing drugs appear to be associated with susceptibility.