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Mycoplasma Infection - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What is mycoplasma infection?

Mycoplasma is the name of the genus of bacteria, which are characterized by the absence of a cell wall. There are several species of mycoplasma bacteria, out of which, the most noteworthy species are Ureaplasma Urealyticum, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Mycoplasma genitalium.

What are mycoplasma infection causes?

The symptoms of the infection, however, may not be produced immediately. The affected person may not feel any illness for days, and hence, continues carrying out his or her daily activities quite normally. The infection is usually characterized by an incubation period of 7 to 21 days. However, the period can vary significantly, depending on factors like the overall health of the individual as well as strength of the bacteria. Even the mode of transmission too can have an impact on the incubation period.

Generally, the infection spreads through close contact with the mucus or phlegm of the infected individual. In general, the infection is found to be more common in toddlers and older school going children. On entering the body, the bacteria gets attached to the epithelial cells of the respiratory tract, and slowly causes infection or pneumonia. The bacterial infection can also cause bronchitis. Generally, it exhibits a pattern by occurring in every four to eight years, especially during the summer of fall.

What are mycoplasma infection sympoms?

Symptoms of a mycoplasma infection include feeling more tired than usual, having a headache and developing a fever in addition to respiratory symptoms. Persistent coughing is one of the most common symptom of walking, or atypical pneumonia and bronchitis caused by mycoplasma. Some people also feel minor chest pain and a sore throat as a result of a mycoplasma infection. Most people find that the onset of symptoms is a gradual process, starting with one symptom with the others following within a few days.

How is mycoplasma infection diagnosed?

The most accurate diagnostic test is the X-ray of the chest. Additionally, physicians also examine a sample of the phlegm of the infected individual, and perform a blood test to look for mycoplasma antibodies. Many times, this infection heals on its own, not being a serious condition.

How is mycoplasma infection treated?

Antibiotics are given for the treatment of this bacterial infection, especially if the symptoms persist for several days, causing lots of discomfort for the affected individual. The most common antibiotics used for treatment are, erythromycin, azithromycin or clarithromycin. The penicillin groups of drugs are not effective for treating this infection caused by mycoplasma, as they work by inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial cell wall, while mycoplasma lacks a cell wall. In addition, herbal medicines can also be used to solve this condition.

As this infection is usually not very serious, it can subside on its own. But if the symptoms last for several days, it is advisable to seek medical attention. This is because even if the bacterial infection is not serious, it can eventually lead to pneumonia. As the symptoms of this condition are quite similar to those produced by cold, therefore there is a chance to confuse between the two conditions. Therefore, if the cold like symptoms persist for a number of days, then visit a physician to ensure proper diagnosis of those symptoms.

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