Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Contagious

The term “walking pneumonia” sounds like a scary term. Though this type of pneumonia could make an individual miserable, it is really the least scariest type of pneumonia. That is due to it being a pneumonia  that is mild and doesn’t usually need any hospitalization. Indeed, you might possess this type of pneumonia and not even realize it.

What exactly is this term walking pneumonia?

This type of pneumonia describes a mild instance of pneumonia. Additionally, this could be referred to as atypical pneumonia due to the disease varying from the more serious pneumonia instances which are caused by some typical bacteria.

A disease of the lungs, pneumonia oftentimes results from a lung infection. A lot of things could trigger pneumonia, involving:

-additional infectious agents, like mycoplasma
-inhaled food

Walking pneumonia will oftentimes be the result of a lung infection from Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacterial microorganism.

Individuals who possess walking pneumonia will seldom be confined to a bed or require hospitalization. A few individuals might be feeling well enough to go to their job and continue with their standard routine, just like they would when they have a common cold.

How’s it spread and who can obtain this type of pneumonia?

Anybody at all ages could obtain walking pneumonia, though this type of pneumonia from mycoplasma pneumoniae will be more popular within older kids and adults who are younger than forty years old.

Individuals who work and live within crowded places, like homeless shleters, prisons and schools have a larger risk of obtaining this disease. That is due to walking pneumonia being contagious. It is spread as somebody comes within touch with droplets from the throat and nose of somebody who possesses it. This usually occurs as an individual who has walking pneumonia coughs or sneezes.

Instances of this type of pneumonia are more popular within the late fall and summer. Yet, infections could happen with no specific pattern through the year. Although this disease will be contagious, it’ll spread very slowly. A contagious duration within most instances will last under ten days. Researchers additionally believe it takes a long period of close contact with the infected individual for somebody else to get walking pneumonia; but still, there includes widespread outbreaks each 4 to 8 years. As those outbreaks happen, walking pneumonia accounts for as much as 1 out of each 2 pneumonia instances.

Mycoplasma Pneumoniae in Children

Located within the throats of the infected people, mycoplasma includes a contagious bacterium which might lead to your kid experiencing a whole range of respiratory complications and symptoms after infection. Familiarizing yourself with some facts concerning mycoplasma infection within children can assist you in reducing your child’s opportunities of obtaining this type of health condition. Crowded group tasks within schools can contribute to the youngster’s risk of getting mycoplasma.


Commonly referred to as mycoplasma, the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae could lead to a lung infection within individuals of every age, yet happens more abundantly within school-aged kids as well as younger adults. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), mycoplasma leads to more instances of pneumonia within school-aged kids than all other infections. Infection happens following your child coming within contact with the respiratory fluids of the individual who is infected, oftentimes through coughing and sneezing; the incubation duration might last up to 4 weeks.

The Symptoms

The symptoms of mycoplasma usually occur following the incubation duration of an infection. Kids underneath the age of five oftentimes show either very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, according to the Maryland Community Health Administration. The symptoms oftentimes involve sore throat, chest pains, excess fatigue, headache, a dry cough, fever as well as bronchitis. The child’s symptoms might last for only 3 days or up to 4 weeks, depending on the infection’s severity.

The Complications

The mycoplasma infection oftentimes results within pneumonia as well as infections of the middle ear. Pneumonia that results from the mycoplasma infection is oftentimes called “walking pneumonia,” since it’s not usually severe, according to the New York State Department. Be sure to follow the physician’s treatment instructions perfectly to minimize the child’s opportunities of having the pneumonia become worse. The middle ear infection will be characterized by the occurence of ear pain as well as excessive agitation and must be treated immediately in order to decrease the opportunities of obtaining loss of hearing.

Treatment and Diagnosis

Depending on the youngster’s symptoms as well as the results of the physical examintion, a physician might do a blood testing to check the cause of an infection. If the doctor suspects the mycoplasma pneumonia, he’ll probably also perform a chest X-ray. As mycoplasma includes a bacterium, the youngster’s physician will usually utilize an antibiotic for the treatment. Though antibiotics could relieve the child’s symptoms, the bacteria itself might stay within the youngster’s throat for weeks. Additional vital comfort steps involve lots of fluids and rest.


Performing excellent hygiene should go a long way within keeping the kid from getting the mycoplasma infection. Teach the child to wash his hands a lot, cover his mouth while coughing, as well as utilize a tissue while blowing his nose. A single huge risk factor of getting the mycoplasma infection will be crowded conditions like the ones within a school; staying away from crowded school functions as probable, particularly within the late fall and summer, decreases the kid’s opportunities of getting the mycoplasma infection.

What is Mycoplasma pneumoniae?

Mycoplasma pneumoniae represents a tiny in its size bacterium that belongs to the class Mollicutes. The organisms adherent to this class have a peculiar feature: they do not have a peptidoglycan cell wall that is common for all other firmicute bacteria. At the same time Mycoplasma pneumoniae possesses a three layer cell membrane that includes cholesterol compounds, resembling eukaryotic cells. Since the organisms do not have a cell wall, they are not prone to the influence of penicillins and other beta-lactam antibiotics that are known for their ability to damage and eliminate the bacterial cell wall.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is known for having one of the smallest genomes ever existed. Its genome includes only 816 kilobase pairs (kbs). There has been carried out comprehensive description of its genome and proteome. It is known that there is some unique genetic code it employs. This code turns out to have more in common with mitochondria than with other bacteria. There is no cellular machinery that could produce many vital compounds. It means that it represents an obligate parasite. There can be no mycoplasma that is free-living. From this point of view, mycoplasma is closer to viruses than to bacteria.

The spreading of Mycoplasma pneumoniae is carried out in a way of respiratory droplet transmission. When it gets stuck to the mucosa of a host organism, M. pneumonia begins to withdraw nutrients, gets larger and replicates with the help of binary fission. It usually sticks to the mucosa in the upper and lower respiratory tract. This leads to the development of such diseases as pharyngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia.

The type of infection that is brought about by this bacterium is called atypical pneumonia. This is due to the fact that it has a protracted course and does not produce sputum and causes a number of extra-pulmonary symptoms. As far as chronic mycoplasma infections are concerned, they have been linked to the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatological diseases.

As of now, the results of researches conducted all over the world show that the diagnosis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae could be considered to be reliable only when found together with bronchial wall thickening as well as centrilobular nodules in the CT findings. At the same time, these CT findings have not been detected in patients, who suffer from progressed severe pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

As effective means of treatment can serve second generation macrolide antibiotics and second generation quinolones. Severity of the disease caused by mycoplasma can range from mild to moderate.

Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Infections

There are special tests that represent quantitative and qualitative immunoassays conducted with the purpose of identifying human antibodies that are directed against Mycoplasma pneumoniae. This helps to define immunoglobulin classes individuals possess. This, in turn, gives necessary information about exposure to pathogen and disease state.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections lead to the development of a whole number of respiratory syndromes. Some of them are ordinary and even trivial, others pose a danger to a patient’s life. They mainly reveal themselves in the form of primary atypical pneumonia, pharyngitis and tracheobronchitis. According to the statistics, around 20% out of the total number of ambulatory cases of pneumonia that occur in the USA are caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. Thus, the frequency of infection is pretty high.

In case of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections, such as RSV-, Influenza Virus-infections, the process of the causal agent detection can present significant difficulties because of the wide range of clinical symptoms, especially when there is atypical pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumoniae settles in epithelia of the trachea, bronchia and bronchiolae. After the initial period that can last for 10—20 days, there appear non-specific symptoms like headache and fever together with a non-productive, dry cough. With time, the infection can cause the development of an interstitial pneumonia.

In case of older children and young adults Mycoplasma pneumoniae is held accountable for approximately 15—20% of ambulant obtained cases of pneumonia. Super infections with Mycoplasma pneumoniae are considered to be common in children and go after viral and bacterial infections.

When patients are children under 5, there can be observed no symptoms of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections. In some cases the revealed symptoms can be assigned to mild symptoms of the respiratory tract. Since immunity after infection is not complete, this can lead to infections being repeated and they can become even more severe.

As there is usually a wide range of clinical symptoms as well as probable causal agents, diagnosis should include not only the clinical picture. It is of great importance to resort to serological and direct detection methodologies that are necessary for defining the pathogen that is hold accountable. This will make it possible to use the right medical intervention strategies.

The CFT has been employed in Mycoplasma pneumoniae diagnosis for a long time already. At the same time, its disadvantage is low specificity as it works on the LPS that has the cross-reactive nature. As far as ELISA tests are concerned, they are more specific in terms of antigen preparations that are capable of distinguishing immunoglobulin classes. Thus, they produce better diagnostic value of the results.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae: general information

It is known that Mycoplasma pneumoniae very often leads to community-acquired pneumonia. In fact, the development of the disease is lengthy and gradual.

The first time Mycoplasma pneumoniae was obtained was in 1898. It was done in cattle affected by pleuropneumonia. In the year 1938, the first case of man being affected by mycoplasmal pneumonia was accounted by Reimann. He checked 7 patients in Philadelphia, who had obvious constitutional symptoms, upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms, and a protracted course with gradual resolution. Reimann named the disease “primary atypical pneumonia”.

Some years later, in 1943, a new phenomenon was found by Peterson. The scientist made a discovery of cold agglutinin. He also found high titers of cold agglutinins in those, who suffered from that type of pneumonia. A year later, a specific agent was discovered by Eaton. The agent was named after the scientist. So Eaton’s agent was identified as the main trigger of primary atypical pneumonia. Initially, it was regarded as a virus. However, in 1961 Eaton’s agent was detected as a Mycoplasma species.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae represents a pleomorphic organism, which is different from bacteria in a way that it does not have a cell wall. It is also different from viruses for it does not use a host cell in order to replicate. The disease is usually accompanied by the prolonged paroxysmal cough, which is considered to be caused by the inhibition of ciliary movement.

One of the specific characteristics of Mycoplasma pneumoniae is its high gliding motility as well as peculiar filamentous tips end. These specific properties enable the organism to hide between cilia inside the respiratory epithelium. This in the end results in making the respiratory epithelial cells slough.

Another two qualities the organism possesses are held accountable for its pathogenicity in humans. Firstly, it is characterized by a selective affinity for respiratory epithelial cells. Secondly, it is capable of generating hydrogen peroxide. The latter is the major cause of the initial cell disruption within the respiratory tract as well as for destroying erythrocyte membranes.

The pathogenicity of Mycoplasma pneumoniae is proved to be connected with the activation of inflammatory mediators, such cytokines, for instance.

It should be said that in the majority of cases patients with the pneumonia recover without developing any serious complications. However, Mycoplasma pneumoniae sometimes leads to severe pneumonia in children. In addition, it has been proved lately to be connected with acute chest syndrome that develops in those patients, who suffer from sickle cell anemia.

Immune response to Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Mycoplasma pneumoniae has protein as well as glycolipid antigens that provoke antibody responses in those who are affected by the infection. One of the most common aims pursued by many antibodies generated by the host in response to the Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is P1 protein. After an initial infection the immune system starts quickly generating antibodies. The peak comes in 3 to 6 weeks time. Then a decline is observed that can last for months and even years. Since the incubation period is rather longish, the response to antibodies can be observed when the symptoms reveal themselves.

The rise in Mycoplasma pneumoniae-specific IgM in the majority of cases can be regarded as a sign of severe infection, for it emerges within the first week of the incubation period and about a couple of weeks before IgG antibody does. At the same time, it is more applicable in pediatric populations when there is a minimal chance of repeated exposures. In case with adults who have been endured infections repeatedly it can happen that they will not have any reaction to mycoplasma antigens with a quick IgM response. Thus, reinfection causes an IgG response.

There is also IgA antibody, which is often underestimated and not paid attention to in the process of diagnosis. However, it can be more efficient in identifying recent infections in groups of all ages. This type of antibodies is generated in the early stage of the disease. It is also by a rapid elevation to peak levels, and decline that happens before that of IgM or IgG.

Apart from Mycoplasma pneumoniae-specific antibodies, there is a whole row of cross-reactive antibodies that can appear during Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. There is an extensive sequence homology of the Mycoplasma pneumoniae adhesin proteins and glycolipids of the cell membrane with mammalian tissues. They are able to cause autoimmune disorders that affect multiple organ systems in a way of creating antibodies against such substances as myosin, keratin, fibrinogen, brain, liver, kidney, smooth muscle, and lung tissues.

There are also a number of acid homologies with human CD4 and class II major histocompatibility complex lymphocyte proteins. They function as producers of autoreactive antibodies and causers of cellular damage and immune system suppressors.

Infection caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae also includes specific T-cell-mediated immunity. Thus, lymphocytes from persons who have already had the infection earlier, will be subjected to blast transformation in case of Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Leukocytes from those who suffer from Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections will also have chemotaxis symptoms when the organism is present. In this case, a person will have a response in the form of IFN- presence in the blood.

How to treat infections caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae?

It is strange enough that in order to cure a mycoplasma infection caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae one should do it via his own immune response, particularly the complement system. It is known that B-lactam antibiotics are helpless and useless in this situation. It is connected with the fact that B-lactams, similar to penicillin, perform their actions only on the cell wall, which is absent in Mycoplasma pneumoniae. However, polyene antibiotics that help to combat cholesterols in the membrane of mycoplasma, can also prove effective in the fight against the plasma membrane of the host cells.

The complement system, we referred to above, represents a cascade of proteins that is usually presented in the tissue or the blood of a host. It is involved in antigen-antibody reactions that result in cell lysis.

Membrane attack complex that eradicates the bacteria can be carried out in four ways: through opsonization, cell lysis, inflammotary response and chemoattraction of neutrophils.

It is known that it is always better to prevent a disease than to cure it. Unfortunately, there is too little information about a mycoplasma infection prevention available so far. There is only one common sense thing that you can do. It is to wash your hands often and not to be in close contact with those who have the infection.

It is not necessarily that human hosts affected by Mycoplasma pneumoniae will cause pneumonia. But the virulence this bacterium possesses is connected with the lipid-associated membrane proteins that are on the cell surface. The specific polar tip organelles that is necessary for mediating stickiness to host cells is presented by an organized interaction between such elements as designated adhesions, interactive proteins and adherence-accessory proteins. When adhesions are gathered at the tip of the structure, this enables mycoplasma to settle in mucous membranes and eukaryotic cell surfaces. According to some research, particular mycoplasma species can be commensal to healthy people.

There is also an opinion that Mycoplasma pneumoniae is capable of serving as a medium for bringing other diseases as well into its immune response monopolization. There has been observed the emergence of other severe bacterial as well as viral infections in patients who have Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. It is supposed to be caused by the specific environment that can conducted to other organisms in one of the following ways: anatomically, physiologically, and/or immunologically. This will, in turn, lead to invasion and disruption of cells.


Mycoplasma pneumonia is a respiratory lung infection which is caused by a bacteria of the same name, Mycoplasma pneumoniae or M. pneumoniae. It is also recognized as atypical pneumonia or walking pneumonia.

This strain of pneumonia usually presents itself in people younger than 40 years of age. Some studies show that M. pneumoniae shows up in 20-50% of adult pneumonia cases and even more in the younger school age population. This infection is most common in summer and fall.

You can spread the mycoplasma germ through droplets from the nose and the throat and through the sneeze of an infected person. This does not happen immediately and is believed to need prolonged contact with these infected people. People that work or live in crowed environments are most at risk. This includes homeless shelters, factories, institutions and schools. The contagious period is believed to be 10-14 days. If you have been exposed to these bacteria, the symptoms will usually occur within 15-30 days. They will appear slowly over a 2-4 day period.

Some of the typical symptoms of mycoplasma. pneumonia are fever and cough, sore throat, tiredness, and headache quite often. Some less frequent symptoms that should not be taken lightly are ear and eye pain, lumps in the neck, rapid breathing and sometimes a skin rash. These symptoms generally last a week, but have been known to persist for a month.

If one is suspected of having this pneumonia, a cold agglutinins test is helpful and may be the only test that is required. But if this test is not definitive then a thorough medical evaluation will be done which includes a complete physical exam and chest x-rays. If satisfaction is not reached from these tests, a complete blood count (CBC), bronchoscopy, sputum culture and urine test may be ordered.

If you have been diagnosed with mycoplasma pneumonia, the chances that you will get it again are rare, but occasionally it does happen. It is nice to know though, that the symptoms are much milder the second time around.

The main treatment for mycoplasma pneumonia is antibiotics such as erythromycin, or clarithromycin. If the symptoms are mild, antibiotics may not be recommended. Home treatment of plenty of liquids, plenty of rest and a high protein diet may be all that is recommended for mild cases.

Most people recover completely from mycoplasma. pneumonia without antibiotics, but antibiotics speed up the process. At this time there is no known vaccine prevention for this pneumonia, so the best prevention would be to try to avoid people and situations where you know the problem may exist. As with many contagious illnesses, the elderly, people in poor health, and people with poor immune systems should avoid contact with known mycoplasma pneumonia carriers.

Mycoplasma Pneumoniae

Mycoplasma pneumonia is a specific type of atypical pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumonia is a bacterial infection in the respiratory tract and in this case, it is caused by the bacteria called mycoplasma pneumoniae. This is a “Community Acquired Pneumonia” which means it is usually caught by being in public and exposed to others who have the pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumonia is considered to be a somewhat mild infection, but the symptoms can linger if the pneumonia is not treated correctly and quickly.

Pneumonia that is an inflammation in the lungs caused by the bacteria mycoplasma pneumoniae is sometimes referred to as “walking pneumonia”. Since the condition is fairly mild, many people go about their daily business, not realizing they are actually sick. That is the reason it is called walking pneumonia. This form of pneumonia doesn’t usually confine sufferers to bed, but it can be annoying and severe because it can last a long time.

Mycoplasma pneumonia can be very contagious. Sneezing, coughing, and even laughing and talking can cause the bacteria to become airborne. However, exposure to the bacteria does not necessarily mean you will develop the lung infection.

Mycoplasma pneumonia most often affects younger people, usually between the ages of 5 to 16. Two million people a year in the United State contract this form of pneumonia. The symptoms of mycoplasma pneumonia can take as much as two weeks to manifest themselves after exposure to the bacteria and the symptoms resemble those of a common cold. For this reason, treatment is often delayed. Mycoplasma pneumonia generally starts with the sense that you have no energy and feeling extremely exhausted. Before this period, the disease does not show any significant symptoms. Eventually other symptoms will begin to manifest. The most common symptoms are fever and chills, sweating, difficulty breathing, sore throat, and sometimes headaches. A dry cough is a very common symptom. Occasionally, the pneumonia can even cause a rash.

Once you realize that something is wrong you should get to the doctor. A mild case is generally treated with antibiotics. If after completing the round of antibiotics prescribed, you are still experiencing the symptoms, the doctor may give you a stronger prescription or recommend hospitalization.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial pneumonia is an infection which causes inflammation of the lungs. Although there are several types of pneumonia such as viral pneumonia and aspiration pneumonia, the most common pneumonia is caused by a single celled organism, or bacteria, called streptococcus pneumoniae.

Bacterial pneumonia is easily contracted by the elderly whose immune systems are weakened due to age or disease. Pneumonia is also more common in babies under two, because their immune systems are still immature. Individuals with depressed immune systems due to serious illness, or those who are malnourished, are also at higher risk. Even the healthiest among us can contract bacterial pneumonia through our everyday contact with others.

Bacterial pneumonia, if left untreated can cause serious illness and death. The onset of symptoms can occur abruptly, often within hours of infection, and can lead to fever above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms may include fatigue, shortness of breathe while resting, blueness of the skin, shaking or chills, fever, sweating, yellowish or greenish phlegm, and chest pain in either lung (lobe) where the infection has occurred. Other symptoms may include cough and even blood-stained sputum.

Individuals who suspect pneumonia should see a doctor immediately. The physician will most likely listen to their chest, and ask for an x-ray and samples of blood and phlegm to make a firm diagnosis of the type and cause of the pneumonia. If the doctor determines you have bacterial pneumonia, he will prescribe antibiotics orally, or by injection. It is important to follow through and to take the entire course of antibiotics prescribed. Depending upon the severity of your illness, he or she may ask you to recover at home for several weeks, or may admit you to a hospital if you have extreme breathlessness, or cyanosis (turning blue).

Bacteria is found everywhere – in the air we breathe, on surfaces we touch such as telephones and desktops – and it even lives in our digestive and respiratory tracts. A simple way to reduce our chance of infection is by washing our hands frequently throughout the day. Hands, wrists, and fingers, should be washed vigorously with warm water and regular soap for at least 20 seconds. Any alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipe is effective in reducing germs if soap and water are not readily available.

Other precautions to avoid pneumonia include eating a nutritious diet to boost immune response, by taking restful sleep, and by exercising to improve lung function. It is a good idea to quit smoking. Those with COPD, asthma, or with compromised immune systems, should take extra precautions to avoid contact with those who have colds and flu, because bacterial pneumonia can easily follow a viral infection.

It is always a good idea to assist your natural defense mechanisms by taking good care of your health and by doing a few preventative measures to avoid becoming ill in the first place. The healthier you are, the better chance you have, of fighting off the bacterium which cause pneumonia.