Mycoplasma Pneumonia (Atypical Pnuemonia) – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications

Knowing the infectious agent that has caused the infection is the key to the Pneumonia treatment. That’s why; Pneumonia is classified in many types depending on the causative agents.

One such causative agent is atypical bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae that causes Mycoplasma Pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumoniae belongs to the class Mollicutes. It is a very small bacterium and does not occur free living (obligate parasite) in nature.

Causes of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

As we had discussed in the opening paragraphs that Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by atypical bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It usually causes infection in school going children and adults below 40 years of age.

Individuals at high risk of getting Mycoplasma Pneumonia comprises of persons working or living in crowded areas like congested colonies, schools and homeless shelters.

Symptoms of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

The symptoms of Mycoplasma Pneumonia are similar to mild symptoms of pneumonia caused by other bacteria.  The onset of the infection is gradual and takes 1 to 3 weeks to appear.

Common symptoms of Mycoplasma Pneumonia: 

                    Low fever

                    Less chances of shaking chills

                    Headache

                    Body aches/ chest pain

                    Excessive sweating

                    Joint pain

                    Sore throat

                    Dry Cough or cough with little sputum

                    Abdominal pain in some cases

                    Feeling weak

Complicated Symptoms of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

The complicated cases of Mycoplasma Pneumonia may present the following symptoms.

                    Pain in ear or eyes

                    Pain the muscles 

                    Rapid breathing

                    Stiffness in joints

                    Neck lump

                    Rashes or Skin lesions

Diagnostic Tests for Mycoplasma Pneumonia

The diagnostic tests for persons with suspected pneumonia comprise of following tests.

                    Complete medical evaluation

                    Physical exam

                    Chest x-ray

In addition to these tests, the doctors may recommend several other tests depending on the severity of the infection.

                    Bronchoscopy

                    CT scan of the chest

                    Open lung biopsy

                    Complete blood count (CBC)

                    Blood cultures

                    Blood tests for antibodies to mycoplasma

                    Sputum culture

                    Urine test or a throat swab (For severe cases)

Treatment of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

The treatment therapy of Mycoplasma Pneumonia differs from other bacterial pneumonia as it does not respond the antibiotics used for treating infections with other bacteria.

It is because it lacks a peptidoglycan cell wall that makes it resistant against penicillins and other beta-lactam antibiotics.

The antibiotics used for treating infections caused by Mycoplasma Pneumoniae comprises of macrolides such as erythromycin, azithromycin, clarithromycin; quinolones, and tetracyclines.

Tips for treatment

                    Patient is asked to drink plenty of fluids including juices, water, tea, lemonade, etc.

                    Oxygen is usually used in hospitalised patient with breathing problems

                    Use of humidified air helps in loosening the mucus

                    Patient may take aspirin, NSAIDs, for controlling fever. However, Aspirin should not be given to children.

                    Patient is advised to take plenty of rest.

·         Chest therapy is used for loosening the mucus so that it can be expelled out by deep coughing.

Complications of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

The infection with Mycoplasma Pneumonia may lead to following complicated conditions.

                    Haemolytic anaemia

                    Severe pneumonia

                    Infections in Ear