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Pathol Biol (Paris). 2006 Dec;54(10):603-11. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

[Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections: retrospective study in Basse-Normandie, 1997-2005. Epidemiology--diagnostic utility of serology and PCR for a rapid diagnostic].

[Article in French]

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Laboratoire de virologie humaine et moléculaire, hôpital universitaire, avenue Georges-Clémenceau, 14033 Caen, France.



The objective of this study was to evaluate the epidemiology of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (Mpn) infections in Basse-Normandie by a retrospective analysis of serological and PCR data, and to confirm the diagnostic utility of PCR and serology.


From 1997 to August 2005, 6156 serum samples and 6123 respiratory tract samples were collected from hospitalised patients and evaluated for the diagnosis of Mpn infection by PCR, serological assays, or by the two tests. During the epidemic period (2004-2005), the results of 1489 patients were analysed.


Over the 9-y period, the seroprevalence was 40,4% and we reported on 525 cases with serologically or/and PCR proven Mpn infection, according a cyclic pattern spaced out 7 years. During the epidemic period, the seroprevalence increased to 50,2% and the rate of infections was 8.3%. The analysis of the 124 cases of Mpn infection showed typical epidemiological characteristics: a peak of incidence among the children and young adults, a summer-winter pattern and some coinfections with viral strains. For diagnosis of Mpn infection, the comparison of PCR and serological assays among 36 patients showed a concordance of only 41.7%.


Mpn infections were endemic and outbreaks were observed according cyclic pattern with a high incidence specially in the children. Sensitive and specific tests were now available for early and reliable diagnosis. In children, the combination of the PCR on nasopharyngeal samples and the IgM EIA serology test were recommended. In adults, the PCR was privilegiated.

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