Why have I not heard of it?

You probably have heard of other mycobacterial diseases. The two most famous, or infamous, forms of mycobacteria are different than the NTM illness with which you have been diagnosed. They are Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) and Mycobacterium Leprae (leprosy), both of which have caused great human suffering and are contagious and spread from person to person.

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) should not be confused with TB or leprosy. There is considerable evidence that nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are acquired from the environment, not other persons.