Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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  • Aerobic, fastidious organism.
    • Organism lacks cell wall. Member of Mollicutes class, among the smallest known free-living bacteria.
    • Historically termed the "Eaton agent," prior to successful cultivation in 1962.
  • Believed to be a frequent cause of atypical pneumonia but diagnosis often difficult and serology inaccurate often.
    • Not a part of normal human oropharyngeal flora.
    • M. pneumoniae culture difficult. Growth often requires 7-21 days, successful in 40-90% of cases.
      • Culture media requires heart infusion, peptone, yeast extract, salts, glucose or arginine + fetal calf serum (5-20%).
      • Bacterial overgrowth a common problem.
  • Erythromycin (macrolide) resistance is now described, and especially common in China (90% of isolates).
    • Outbreak investigations in U.S. have found macrolide resistance rates of 8-27%.

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Last updated: May 30, 2016