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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 147  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-31

Mycoplasma pneumoniae: A significant but underrated pathogen in paediatric community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections


Department of Microbiology, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr Surinder Kumar
Department of Microbiology, Mycoplasma Research Laboratory, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi 110 002
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1582_16

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Lower respiratory tract infections are considered a common cause responsible for morbidity and mortality among children, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae is identified to be responsible for up to 40 per cent of community-acquired pneumonia in children greater than five years of age. Extrapulmonary manifestations have been reported either due to spread of infection or autoimmune mechanisms. Infection by M. pneumoniae has high incidence and clinical importance but is still an underrated disease. Most widely used serologic methods are enzyme immunoassays for detection of immunoglobulin M (IgM), IgG and IgA antibodies to M. pneumoniae, though other methods such as particle agglutination assays and immunofluorescence methods are also used. Detection of M. pneumoniae by nucleic acid amplification techniques provides fast, sensitive and specific results. Utilization of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has improved the diagnosis of M. pneumoniae infections. Besides PCR, other alternative amplification techniques include (i) nucleic acid sequence-based amplification, (ii) Qβ replicase amplification, (iii) strand displacement amplification, (iv) transcription-mediated amplification, and (v) ligase chain reaction. Macrolides are used as the first-line treatment in childhood for M. pneumoniae infections; however, emergence of macrolide-resistant M. pneumoniae is a cause of concern. Development of a safe vaccine is important that gives protective immunity and would be a major step in reducing M. pneumoniae infections.


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