University of Oulu

Metsälä, R., Ala-Korpi, S., Rannikko, J. et al. Mycoplasma pneumoniae may cause dyspnoea and hospitalisations in young healthy adults. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 40, 1427–1431 (2021).

Mycoplasma pneumoniae may cause dyspnoea and hospitalisations in young healthy adults

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Author: Metsälä, Riku1; Ala-Korpi, Solja1; Rannikko, Juha1,2;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
2Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland
3Tampere Center for Child Health Research, Tampere, Finland
4Department of Pediatrics, University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital, Box 100, 70029, Kuopio, Finland
5PEDEGO Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-01-18


Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based diagnostics for Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) from the respiratory tract has become widely available, but the interpretation of the results remains unclear. M. pneumoniae has been suggested to cause mainly mild and self-limiting infections or asymptomatic carriage. However, systematic analyses of the association between PCR results and clinical findings are scarce. This study aimed to clarify the clinical features of PCR-positive M. pneumoniae infections in a hospital setting. We reviewed 103 PCR-positive patients cared for in a university hospital during a 3-year period. Data on age, sex, health condition, acute symptoms, other pathogens found, laboratory and X-ray results and treatments were collected. Over 85% of the patients had a triad of typical symptoms: fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms in the upper respiratory tract were rare. In 91% of the cases, M. pneumoniae was the only pathogen found. The highest incidence was found in the age group of 30–40 years, and 68% of the patients did not have any underlying diseases. Most patients were initially empirically treated with beta-lactam antibiotics and needed 2–4 changes in their treatment. Only 6% were discharged without an antibiotic effective against M. pneumoniae. This study shows that M. pneumoniae often led to hospitalisation and that patients needed appropriate antimicrobial treatment to recover. Mixed infections were rare, and situations that could be interpreted as carriage did not occur.

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Series: European journal of clinical microbiology & infectious diseases
ISSN: 0934-9723
ISSN-E: 1435-4373
ISSN-L: 0934-9723
Volume: 40
Issue: 7
Pages: 1427 - 1431
DOI: 10.1007/s10096-021-04171-z
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
3111 Biomedicine
Funding: Open Access funding provided by University of Eastern Finland (UEF) including Kuopio University Hospital. This is an investigator-driven study with no external funding or support.
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