Background: The incidence of nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) infections has been increasing worldwide, becoming a significant healthcare burden especially among elderly people. This study aimed to evaluate the trends in NTM-associated mortality in Japan. Methods: This study used vital statistics data and data on all NTM-associated deaths (N = 18 814) among individuals aged ≥40 years in Japan from 1997 to 2016. We calculated the crude and age-adjusted mortality rates by age and sex and used joinpoint regression to analyze trends and estimate the average annual percentage change (AAPC). We compared crude NTM- and tuberculosis-associated mortality rates by sex. Results: The overall crude annual mortality rate increased from 0.63/100 000/year in 1997 to 1.93/100 000/year in 2016 and was the highest among individuals aged 80-84 years. The AAPC of the crude mortality rates among men of all ages and women aged 40-59 years were stable but increased among women aged 60-79 years (3.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8-4.3) and ≥80 years (4.3%; 95% CI, 3.7-4.9). Among men, the age-adjusted mortality rates did not show a significant trend, while among women, the rates increased over the study period (AAPC, 4.6%; 95% CI, 2.7-6.6). In women, the crude NTM-associated mortality rate exceeded the tuberculosis mortality rate in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Conclusions: NTM mortality increased in Japan between 1997 and 2016, especially among the elderly female population. Given the increasing NTM-associated mortality and the susceptible aging population, public health authorities in Japan should pay greater attention to NTM infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E321-E326
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 2021


  • nontuberculous mycobacteria
  • trend analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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