Ureaplasma urealyticum


  • Among the smallest bacteria, it lacks a cell wall [Fig 1].
    • Member of Mycoplasmataceae family.
    • It may be a normal component of male/female genital flora.
    • Found generally on genital mucosal surfaces in the majority of sexually active adults.
  • Media for growth must contain cholesterol (tissue culture conditions needed); the organism hydrolyzes urea--hence its name.
    • Usually sub-cultured to blood agar plate for identification. Ureaplasma colonies are pinpoint-sized.
  • Seventeen species are recognized from humans, with four as most often implicated: usually, species can only distinguish in clinical samples by PCR.
    • Ureaplasma parvum (Up): most commonly isolated, considered vaginal commensal.
    • Ureaplasma urealyticum (Uu): considered most virulent, especially in urethritis, afflicting men, although one large study found a lack of association with symptoms[6].
      • Association with other disease entities, such as PID, is less robust.

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Last updated: February 15, 2023