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Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in children

Dori F Zaleznik, MD
Jesus G Vallejo, MD
Section Editor
Morven S Edwards, MD
Deputy Editor
Mary M Torchia, MD


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is one of three species of Mycoplasma that frequently produce infection in humans. Mycoplasmas are ubiquitous and are the smallest bacteria that can survive alone in nature. M. pneumoniae causes a wide variety of clinical manifestations in children and adults, principally pneumonia.

The clinical features, diagnosis, and treatment of M. pneumoniae infection in children will be reviewed here. M. pneumoniae infection in adults, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium, and Ureaplasma urealyticum infections are discussed separately. (See "Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in adults" and "Mycoplasma hominis and Ureaplasma urealyticum infections".)


The term "mycoplasma" is widely used to refer to any organism within the class Mollicutes, which is composed of five genera (Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, Acholeplasma, Anaeroplasma, and Asteroloplasma). More than 120 named Mycoplasma species exist, and 13 Mycoplasma species, two Acholeplasma species, and one Ureaplasma species have been isolated from humans. However, only four species are well-established human pathogens [1]:

M. pneumoniae

M. hominis

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 29, 2017.
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