Which age groups have the highest prevalence of Mycoplasma infections (Mycoplasma pneumoniae)?

Updated: Feb 15, 2019
  • Author: Ken B Waites, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

M pneumoniae has long been associated with pneumonias in children aged 5-9 years, adolescents, and young adults. Infection is particularly common among college students and military recruits who are likely to live together in close proximity. M pneumoniae may be the most common agent causing bacterial pneumonia in such populations.

In recent years, M pneumoniae infection has been common in persons older than 65 years, accounting for as much as 15% of community-acquired pneumonia cases in persons in this age group.

The common misconception that M pneumoniae disease is rare among very young populations and among older adults has led to physician failure to consider the organism in the differential diagnoses of respiratory tract infections in persons in these age groups. Physicians should always consider M pneumoniae as a cause of pneumonia in persons of all ages, including children younger than 5 years. Although M pneumoniae disease in infants is somewhat uncommon, when it is present, it can be severe. [10]


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