Laboratory diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Mycoplasma pneumoniae


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a very small bacterium that belongs to the class Mollicutes. It is a human pathogen that causes the disease mycoplasma pneumonia, a form of atypical bacterial pneumonia related to cold agglutinin disease. M. pneumoniae is characterized by the absence of a peptidoglycan cell wall and resulting resistance to many antibacterial agents.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria commonly cause mild infections of the respiratory system (the parts of the body involved in breathing). Sometimes these bacteria can cause more serious lung infections that require care in a hospital. Mycoplasma pneumonia spreads quickly through contact with respiratory fluids in crowded areas, like schools, college campuses, and nursing homes. When someone coughs or sneezes, moisture containing the M. pneumoniae bacteria is released into the air, and others around them can easily breathe the bacteria in. Once inside the body, the bacterium can attach itself to your lung tissue and multiply until a full infection develops.

Laboratory diagnosis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection can be challenging because of the slow growth and fastidious nature of the organism. The diagnosis can be made by various methods, such as microscopy, culture, serology, antigen detection, and molecular techniques. However, each method has its own advantages and limitations. Therefore, a combination of methods may be required for a definitive diagnosis. In this section, we will briefly review each method and its application in clinical practice.