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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Mycoplasma Infections
      Category : Health Centers > Respiratory System (Lungs and Breathing)

Mycoplasma Infections

Alternate Names : Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Infections, Primary Atypical Pneumonia

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

The organism Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a bacteria that causes infections in the respiratory system. Less often, it causes an infection of the central nervous system, heart, or skin.

What is going on in the body?

Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a very contagious bacteria found only in humans. Young children infected with the bacteria often have no symptoms. Older children and adults often have upper respiratory infections. The windpipe and bronchial tubes may be infected. Less often, the person may have pneumonia or an ear infection.

Very rarely, the mycoplasma bacteria can cause infections in other parts of the body, including the following :

  • encephalitis, which is an infection of the brain tissue
  • meningitis, which is an infection of the membrane lining the brain and spinal cord
  • myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart
  • skin infections
  • What are the causes and risks of the infection?

    Mycoplasma infections are caused by the Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria. The bacteria spreads from person to person through respiratory secretions. Outbreaks of mycoplasma infections are often seen in young adults who live in crowded situations. For example, outbreaks are seen in college dormitories and military housing.

    Individuals at high risk for mycoplasma infections include those who have the following conditions:

  • heart disease
  • immunodeficiency disorders, which impair the body's ability to fight infection
  • lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • sickle cell anemia, a condition which causes abnormal red blood cells
  • Mycoplasma pneumonia most often occurs in fall and early winter.


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    Mycoplasma Infections: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Danielle Zerr, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 09/24/01

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