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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2009 Aug;14(4):190-9. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2008.11.009. Epub 2008 Dec 23.

Congenital and opportunistic infections: Ureaplasma species and Mycoplasma hominis.

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Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35249, USA.


There is strong evidence from clinical and experimental animal studies that ureaplasmas can invade the amnionic sac and induce an inflammatory response resulting in chorioamnionitis, preterm labor and neonatal lung injury. The ability of Ureaplasma spp. and Mycoplasma hominis to cause pneumonia, bacteremia, and meningitis in newborns can no longer be questioned. The association of Ureaplasma spp. with bronchopulmonary dysplasia has been supported by the majority of observational studies, but proof of causality is still lacking. The availability of molecular diagnostic technologies has enabled the designation of the two Ureaplasma biovars as individual species, but additional work must be done to establish whether there is differential pathogenicity between the Ureaplasma spp. or among their respective serovars. Future investigations to prevent prematurity should be directed toward identification and localization of specific micro-organisms combined with targeted antibiotic trials to determine whether such interventions can improve long-term infant outcomes.

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