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Mycoplasma Testing, Diagnosis & Treatment


Mycoplasma pneumoniaeis a type of bacteria that is responsible for mild sickness and sometimes pneumonia in older children and often in young adults. Pneumonia is an infection of the lung.

Most illnesses caused by the Mycoplasma pneumonia are often called walking pneumonia by doctors. This is because they are not so serious. The bacteria M. pneumonia usually causes an upper tract infection of the respiratory tract with a sore throat and a cough, and, according to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is equally responsible for the common chest cold, also known as tracheobronchitis in children.

In 2015, a study published showed that M. pneumonia is responsible for about 10 – 40% of all cases developed outside hospitals. Hence, it is advisable to sought for medical attention once there are symptoms.

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Who is at risk?

Older children and young adults are at higher risk of being affected by M. pneumonia. It can also affect people whose immune systems are weak and adults. The bacteria spreads slowly, more slowly than some other respiratory illness. However, people living together in the same household can be affected easily, because outbreaks occur where people mix more closely, like schools.

Mode of infection

  1. pneumonia spreads through close contact. It dries out quickly and can only survive in drops of water. The bacteria is found in droplets that come out when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The bacteria is thus passed on to another person who is in close proximity to the infected person.

Once the bacteria enters the upper airways, they become difficult to remove from the body. This is because the bacteria have special adaptations that make them stick to cells. Symptoms manifest when this bacteria fights with the immune system of the body.


Symptoms appear about 1-4 weeks, according to the CDC, and are almost similar to those of a chest cold and other respiratory infection. It is usually in a mild form and includes:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Cough that does not subside

These are symptoms that are only associated with mild infection, with the cough being prominent. When the infection goes deeper in the lungs, the symptoms become worse and include;

  • Shallow, rapid breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Increased heart rate
  • Appetite loss
  • Chest pain that worsens during breathing or cough
  • Sweating and shivering
  • General feeling of illness

Note that people with asthma experience worse symptoms when infected.


There are usually rare, sometimes no complications of M. pneumonia infections, but it might not be the same for people who already have a lung disease like asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Some people are likely to have a high risk of complication if affected by the bacteria, and these people are advised to see a doctor if infected.

These people are;

  • People who have a weak immune system
  • People who are over 65 years of age

They can get an infection if they have a condition that has carried on for a long time, or if a doctor has told them that they are vulnerable to other illness.

You should note that the lungs are not only affected by the symptoms, but other parts of the body as well, and it can cause fatal neurological and dermatological diseases like encephalitis and hemolytic anaemia respectively, among others. Complications like breathing difficulty should be reported immediately to the doctor.


A physical examination will be carried out on the patient; however, the doctor will find out from the patient, the symptoms, medical history etc. The physical examination can include an examination of the person’s throat or listening to the person’s chest and in severe cases, an X-ray.


The setbacks to the diagnosis may be similarities to other conditions, making it hard to identify, or inability to hear any unusual sound from the lungs. A complete diagnosis is possible if the symptoms do not respond to treatment for other respiratory infections.

Laboratory test

This becomes an option when there is a possibility of serious infection. It can show the microbe responsible, enabling proper prescription by a doctor. This test is carried out by taking a swab test from the throat or a sputum sample, or even a blood test.


There is usually no drug treatment for upper airway infection, as the infection may not cause serious problems. The affected person can return to full health in weeks. Doctors will usually recommend rest, plenty of fluids and pain relief. Macrolide antibiotics can be useful in treating M. pneumonia. However, not everyone will respond to it. If it doesn’t work, other antibiotics can be prescribed.

Treatment complications

This can arise when the patient has low blood pressure or difficulty in breathing. However, this can be treated as well.


Coughing and sneezing spreads the bacteria. Because of this, such people should be avoided until they have been treated. Some groups of people should be vaccinated for pneumonia. They are;

  • People who smoke
  • People with an immune disorder
  • People with heart or lung condition

The type of vaccination is dependent on the age of the people.


Mycoplasma pneumonia is becoming quite common in recent times but sdoes not pose too much threat to us. In most cases, the individual’s health will be reinstated and fully recovered with little or no treatment within a short time.

It is still advised that people with signs of infections should seek medical advice to avoid complications. You can reach out to us at STI Clinic London, to schedule a same day service appointment. Call us on 020 7183 0649 for more information.

There’s Only One Way to Know

Getting tested is not only quick and easy, it’s the only way to know for sure
if you do or do not have an STD.

Put Your Mind at Ease Today OR Call 020 7183 0649