You've Got What?
How infectious diseases are spread and simple and practical advice for preventing the spread of infection in the home and community
Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is caused by the Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae). M. pneumoniae are very small bacteria with no cell walls which can cause pneumonia in humans.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is spread when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes small droplets containing infectious agents into the air. The droplets in the air may be breathed in by those nearby. Infection may be spread by contact with hands, tissues and other articles soiled by infected nose and throat discharges. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is also spread by direct contact with the infected person.
M. pneumoniae occurs worldwide and is a common cause of mild pneumonia (lung infection or inflammation), bronchitis and sore throat. It causes 15 to 50% of cases of pneumonia in adults and an even higher percentage in school aged children. Infection is most common in people aged between 5 and 20 years, but can occur at any age.
Symptoms develop over 1 to 3 weeks and include:
Mycoplasma pneumonia usually resolves without any serious complications, although they may occur. Cough and weakness may persist for more than 1 month.
Diagnosis is usually made by blood tests and a chest x-ray.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
2 to 3 weeks.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
Probably less than 20 days.
Effective antibiotic treatment is available, though most people recover completely without it. Antibiotics may speed recovery, but appear not to reduce the period for which a person is able to transmit infection.