Pneumonia is inflamed or swollen lung tissue due to infection with a germ.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M pneumoniae).
This type of pneumonia is also called atypical pneumonia because the symptoms are different from those of pneumonia due to other common bacteria.
Walking pneumonia; Community-acquired pneumonia - mycoplasma; Community-acquired pneumonia - atypical
Mycoplasma pneumonia usually affects people younger than 40.
People who live or work in crowded areas such as schools and homeless shelters have a high chance of getting this condition. But many people who get sick with it have no known risk factors.
Symptoms are often mild and appear over 1 to 3 weeks. They may become more severe in some people.
Common symptoms include any of the following:
Less common symptoms include:
Exams and Tests
People with suspected pneumonia should have a complete medical evaluation. It may be hard for your health care provider to tell whether you have pneumonia, bronchitis, or another respiratory infection, so you may need a chest x-ray.
Depending on how severe your symptoms are, other tests may be done, including:
In many cases, it is not necessary to make the specific diagnosis before starting treatment.
To feel better, you can take these self-care measures at home:
Antibiotics are used to treat atypical pneumonia:
Most people recover completely without antibiotics, although antibiotics may speed recovery. In untreated adults, cough and weakness can last for up to a month. The disease can be more serious in older adults and in those with a weakened immune system.
Complications that may result include any of the following:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider if you develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. There are many causes for these symptoms. The provider will need to rule out pneumonia.
Also, call if you have been diagnosed with this type of pneumonia and your symptoms become worse after improving first.
Wash your hands often, and have other people around you do the same.
If your immune system is weak, stay away from crowds. Ask visitors who have a cold to wear a mask.
DO NOT smoke. If you do, get help to quit.
Baum SG. Mycoplasma infections. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 317.
Holzman RS, Simberkoff MS. Mycoplasma pneumoniae and atypical pneumonia. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 185.
Torres A, Menéndez R, Wunderink RG. Bacterial pneumonia and lung abscess. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 33.
Review Date: 7/28/2018
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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