Atypical pathogens including Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila are increasingly recognized as important causes of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Mycoplasma pneumoniae accounts for 20–40% of all CAP and L. pneumophila is responsible for 3–15% of cases. The paucity of data from India in this regard prompted us to conduct this prospective multicentric analysis to detect the prevalence of M. pneumoniae and L. pneumophila in our geographical region. A total of 453 patients with symptoms of pneumonia and 90 controls with no history of lower respiratory tract infections were included in the study. A duplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting 543 bp region of P1 adhesin gene of M. pneumoniae and 375 bp region of macrophage infectivity potentiator (mip) gene of L. pneumophila was standardized for simultaneous detection of these atypical pathogens. Respiratory secretions, blood, and urine samples were collected from each patient and control and were subjected to duplex PCR, culture and serology for M. pneumoniae and L. pneumophila. Urine samples were subjected for detecting L. pneumophila antigen. Among the 453 patients investigated for M. pneumoniae, 52 (11.4%) were positive for IgM antibodies, 17 were positive by culture, and seven tested positive by PCR (P1 gene). Similarly for L. pneumophila, 50 cases (11%) were serologically positive for IgM antibodies, one was positive by PCR (mip gene) and urine antigen detection. A total of eight samples were positive by duplex PCR for M. pneumoniae P1 gene (N = 7) and L. pneumophila mip gene (N = 1). Of the 90 controls, two samples (2.2%) showed IgM positivity, and 15 (16.7%) showed IgG positivity for M. pneumoniae. For L. pneumophila, three samples (3.3%) tested positive for IgM, and 12 (13.3%) tested positive for IgG antibodies. The study findings indicate the presence of M. pneumoniae and L. pneumophila in our geographical region, and a combination of laboratory approaches including PCR, culture, and serology is required for effective detection of these agents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases