Mycoplasma pneumoniae is responsible for causing lung infections including various cases of mild pneumonia. It usually spreads from one individual to another via secretions from sneezing or coughing with an incubation period of 2-3 weeks. The transmission of the organism typically occurs via close contact. The reported outbreaks are prevalent in summer camps and universities as well as in families.
Even though mycoplasma pneumoniae infections are not common among children younger than aged 5 years, they are the main cause of pneumonia among school-aged children and young adults.
What are the indications?
Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections can trigger symptoms that are frequently minor in nature. They become worse over time in some cases. The typical symptoms include:
- Upper respiratory tract infections including sore throat and even ear infections
Children with the infection might also have fever, weakness and even rashes and headaches. The cough can change from dry to one with phlegm production. In rare instances, children might end up with a sinus infection and croup.
When to consult a doctor?
If the symptoms including fever persists longer than a few days, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor.
In most instances, upper respiratory tract infections and bronchitis linked with mycoplasma pneumoniae infections are relatively mild and settle on their own without requiring antibiotics. On the other hand, antibiotics such as azithromycin, erythromycin or doxycycline can be given if the symptoms linked with pneumonia and ear infections are severe.
It is important to note that the infection often results to wheezing among children diagnosed with asthma or have reactive airways. Most can fully recover from the infection even if antibiotics are not used.