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a contagious disease of children and young adults caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is characterized by a 9- to 12-day incubation period and followed by symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, dry cough, and fever. Also called Eaton agent pneumonia, primary atypical pneumonia, walking pneumonia. See also cold agglutinin.
observations Harsh or diminished breath sounds and fine inspiratory rales are frequently heard. Pulmonary infiltrates visible on chest x-ray films may resemble those of bacterial or viral pneumonia and may persist for 3 weeks in untreated cases. Rarely, complications such as sinusitis, pleurisy, polyneuritis, myocarditis, or Stevens-Johnson syndrome may follow the pneumonia. In untreated adults prolonged cough, weakness, and malaise are common. Diagnosis is suggested by physical examination and by observation of the clinical course and elevated cold agglutinin level and is confirmed by a complement fixation test. Prognosis is favorable.
interventions Erythromycin or tetracycline, bed rest, a high-protein diet, and an adequate fluid intake are recommended. It is important that infants and people for whom a respiratory illness is particularly hazardous avoid contact with infected individuals.
mycoplasma pneumoniaA primary atypical pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which is associated with mini-epidemics that spread by aerosol or close contact to most individuals in closed populations (e.g., military boot camps, boarding schools, colleges), affecting those aged 5–20.
Incubation ± 3 weeks; insidious onset of fever, malaise, headache, myalgia, low-grade fever, cough, chest pain and respiratory disease, from asymptomatic to rhinitis, pharyngitis, tracheobronchitis and pneumonia.
Leukocytosis, relative increase in PMNs, cold hemagglutinins, biologic false-positive VDRL.
Erythema multiforme, Raynaud’s disease, cold agglutinin haemolysis; less commonly, neurological, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal defects.
None currently available.
mycoplasma pneumoniaPrimary atypical pneumonia; walking pneumonia Infectious disease A primary atypical pneumonia by M pneumoniae, which causes miniepidemics that spread by aerosol or close contact, causing up to3⁄4 of a 'closed population'–military 'boot' camps, boarding schools, colleges–pneumonias, affecting ages 5-20 Clinical Incubation ± 3 wks; insidious onset of fever, malaise, headache, myalgia, low-grade fever, cough, chest pain, and respiratory disease from asymptomatic to rhinitis, pharyngitis, tracheobronchitis, pneumonia Lab Leukocytosis, relative ↑ in PMNs, cold hemagglutinins, biologic false positive VDRL Complications Erythema multiforme, Raynaud's phenomenon, cold agglutinin hemolysis; less commonly, neurologic, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal defects Treatment Tetracycline, erythromycin Vaccine Under development
An incomplete bacterium that infects the lung.
Mentioned in: Erythema Multiforme