Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a member of a group of degenerate bacteria lacking a cell wall.
M. pnuemoniae was the first human pathogen identified in the group and causes up to 20% of all cases of pneumonia. Mycoplasmal pneumonia presents with flu-like symptoms, however unlike most viral and bacterial pneumonias, mycoplasmal pneumonia is more gradual in both presentation and recovery. M. pneumoniae infections are usually grouped in the category of atypical pneumonia. Examples of other organisms which cause atypical pneumonia are influenza (A and B), respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza, cytomegalovirus, Chlamydia, Legionella, Histoplasma capsulatum and Coccidioides immitis.
M. pneumoniae disease progression is usually limited to the respiratory system from the naso-pharynx through bronchioles; resulting in widely varying symptoms more consistent with bronchitis than pneumonia. Antibiotics may ameliorate symptoms, however organism can often be cultured from patients following antibiotic regimes. Asymptomatic (silent) infections may occur in adults and account for up to 20% of M. pneumoniae infections.
Manufacturer’s reagent package insert, Immuno Card Mycoplasma, 12/16, Meridian Bioscience, Inc., 3471 River Hills Drive Cincinnati, Ohio 45244, USA.