Symptoms of a Nontuberculous Mycobacteria Lung Infection
Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) may be harmless to most people, but can be deadly for those whose immune systems are compromised. If you have a weakened immune system or you recently underwent open-heart surgery involving a heater-cooler device, you need to be alert to the signs you may have an NTM infection.
A Deceptive Illness
NTM infections can involve a number of different symptoms, or no symptoms at all. You may feel relatively fine or you might experience a severe cough, sudden weight loss or extreme fatigue. In most cases, symptoms are associated with a severe infection.
There are two groups of NTM symptoms; the first group affects the lungs while the other symptoms affect the entire body.
Lung-related symptoms include:
- A persistent cough
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
Whole-body symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Sweating at night
- Unexpected weight loss
NTM Infection Causes
Many people who develop an NTM infection have an accompanying condition such as a weakened immune system or lung disease. However, people who underwent open-heart surgery are also at a heightened risk. This type of surgery typically involves the use of a heater-cooler device, which helps to keep the body at a safe temperature during the procedure.
Unfortunately, there have been many cases reported of certain devices spraying water contaminated with NTM throughout an operating room. When this happens and water enters an open body cavity, a person can easily develop a potentially severe NTM infection.