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Mycoplasma Pneumoniae infections in the Maltese Islands

By Alfred V. Portelli and Christopher Barbara


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a free living micro-organism which is classified in the family Mycoplasmataceae. It is primarily a human respiratory pathogen and the infection may vary from a mild pharyngitis to a pneumonia. M. pneumoniae infections are usually endemic in the community but periodic epidemics can also occur. These micro-organisms are sensitive to specific antibiotics such as tetracycline and erythromycin and a laboratory diagnosis using rapid methods is therefore important. Studies were carried out at the Virology Laboratory, St. Luke’s Hospital involving 1,022 cases during the period 1995 to 1998. These were examined for specific anti-mycoplasmal IgM antibodies using an enzyme immunoassay (EIA) technique. One hundred and forty samples or 13.7% were found to be reactive. Compared to the traditional cultural methods, EIA techniques are very rapid laboratory diagnostic methods, the result being communicated to the clinician within a few hours. The differential diagnosis of the particular case can thus be resolved quickly and appropriate antibiotic therapy instituted without much delay for the maximum benefit to the patient

Topics: Pneumonia, Pneumonia -- Diagnosis, Pneumonia -- Malta -- Case studies, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Antibiotics
Publisher: Maltese Medical Journal
Year: 2000
OAI identifier:
Provided by: OAR@UM

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