Abstract by Schuyler Robinson
Non-Tuberculosis Mycobacterium correlations with soil and water characteristics on the Hawaiian Islands
30,000 people per year in the USA are diagnosed with a chronic lung disease caused by non-tuberculosis mycobacterium. The disease most commonly causes chronic coughing, fatigue, and, in rare cases, death. Risk factors are older, slender, people or those with immunodeficiencies. Patients can rid the disease through antibiotics but are often re-infected with either the same or a different species. Mycobacteria live in the environment in soil, drinking water, and shower heads. We breathe them in through dust from the soil and water droplets from showerheads and faucets. This study focuses on where NTM live and more importantly why they want to live there. Isolation and a four times greater risk factor make the Hawaiian Islands a prime location for this study. Through sampling and characterizing stages of the hydrologic cycle, we will establish stages of that cycle (e.g. streams, aquifer, household plumbing) that NTM prefer to live and correlate their presence with soil and water characteristics.