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Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Pneumonia: Testing and Diagnosis

  • 28 / 11 / 2023 0
Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Pneumonia: Testing and Diagnosis

Pneumonia is a serious condition that can have several causes, including bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. One specific bacterium that can cause pneumonia is Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In this article, we explore the different pathogens of pneumonia, the role of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and how laboratory tests can help with diagnosis.

Respiratory infections such as Mycoplasma pneumoniae can have several causes. If the causative agent is clearer, your doctor can treat you more specifically.

Pathogens of Pneumonia can be bacteria or viruses.

Examples of Bacteria that can cause pneumonia are:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae: Common cause of bacterial pneumonia, especially in adults.
  • Haemophilus influenzae: Can cause pneumonia in both children and adults.
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae: An atypical bacterium that often causes mild to moderate pneumonia.
  • Legionella pneumophila: Can cause severe pneumonia, especially when exposed to contaminated water.

Viruses that can cause lung inflammation are:

  • Influenza virus (flu): Causes severe respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV): Common in young children, can cause severe respiratory infections.
  • Adenovirus: Can cause various respiratory infections, including pneumonia.
  • Coronaviruses:Some, such as SARS-CoV-2 (causative agent of COVID-19), can lead to pneumonia.

Laboratory Tests for Diagnosis
To identify the specific pathogen of pneumonia, several laboratory tests are performed.

  • Blood test
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC):Indicates an increased white blood cell count, indicative of infection.
  • C-reactive Protein (CRP) Test: Assesses the severity of inflammation. An elevated CRP level can indicate the presence of bacterial infection, which helps doctors distinguish between viral and bacterial causes of pneumonia.
  • Laboratory tests for Mycoplasma pneumoniae
    Specific tests measure IgG and IgM antibodies in the serum.

The doctor may also use tests such as:

  • Sputum culture
    Sample of coughed-up mucus to identify bacterial cause.
  • Bronchoscopy
    In severe or nonresponsive infections.
    Thin tube with camera inserted to take samples and identify source of infection.
    Type of test depends on severity of symptoms and patient's clinical presentation. All tests are performed by medical personnel in a clinical setting.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae: Symptoms and Diagnosis

Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections often manifest as a common cold. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, sore throat and headache, fever and muscle aches. In about 10% of patients, symptoms persist longer.

Risk Factors for Severe Occurrence.
Elderly people, people with autoimmune diseases, chronic steroid use, chemotherapy, chronic lung disease and smokers.

If symptoms of a respiratory infection persist, immediate medical attention is crucial. Understanding pathogens and available diagnostics is essential for effective treatment. Although there is currently no vaccine for Mycoplasma pneumoniae, research continues. With symptoms or risk factors, always consult a health care provider for professional advice and diagnostics.

Note: This information is intended for educational purposes and does not replace the advice of a medical professional.

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