How is M pneumoniae characterized?

Updated: Dec 28, 2018
  • Author: Michael Joseph Bono, MD, FACEP; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Answer

The causative agent of mycoplasmal pneumonia is M pneumoniae, a bacterium in the shape of a short rod, lacking a cell wall, which belongs to the class Mollicutes, the smallest known free-living microorganisms. The organism can be excreted from the respiratory tract for several weeks after the acute infection; therefore, isolation of the organism may not indicate acute infection. The organism is difficult to grow in the laboratory, requiring not only specialized growth medium, but also long growth times, which limits the clinical utility of culturing the organism.


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