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J Infect Dis. 2001 Feb 15;183(4):675-8. Epub 2000 Dec 27.

Results of molecular detection of Mycoplasma pneumoniae among patients with acute respiratory infection and in their household contacts reveals children as human reservoirs.

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Diagnostic Laboratory for Infectious Diseases and Perinatal Screening, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Antonie van Leeuwenhoeklan 9, 3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


During a 30-month prospective study in The Netherlands, the distribution of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and respiratory viruses among 1172 patients with acute respiratory infection (ARI) who were treated in the outpatient general practitioner setting was studied. M. pneumoniae, as detected by polymerase chain reaction analysis, was present in 39 (3.3%) patients. The infection rate was similar in all age groups. Nose and throat samples collected from 79 household contacts of M. pneumoniae-positive index patients revealed M. pneumoniae in 12 (15%) cases. The frequency of M. pneumoniae among household contacts of index patients treated with appropriate antibiotics and untreated index patients was similar. Nine of the 12 M. pneumoniae-positive household contacts were <16 years old (P=.02), and 4 (44%) of them did not develop ARI. Apparently, children are a relevant reservoir for M. pneumoniae.

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