European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 131–134 | Cite as

Community outbreak of acute respiratory infection by Mycoplasma pneumoniae

  • Angela Domínguez
  • Sofia Minguell
  • Joan Torres
  • Angelita Serrano
  • Josep Vidal
  • Lluís Salleras


We present the results of the investigation of an epidemic outbreak of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection which affected 95 school-children from certain villages in Catalonia. The investigation took an epidemiological, clinical and microbiological approach, detecting by capture enzyme-immunoassay technique the presence of IgM antibodies against M. pneumoniae. All cases occurred over a 9 week period. The attack rate in children under five was 18% and 8.2% in those from 5–14 years. The age mean and standard deviation of the cases was 5.2 ± 3.5 years, the range being from 9 months to 14 years. Cough was the most common clinical manifestation (87.4%), followed by fever (67.4%), asthenia (21.1%), abdominal pain (18.9%), vomiting (13.7%), earache (8.4%) and sore throat (6.3%). There was no significant difference in the distribution of symptoms according to age groups. IgM anti M. pneumoniae was positive in 36 (37.9%) of the samples analysed. Treatment chosen in most cases (90) was eritromicin and there was a correct evolution in all cases except for two clinical and radiological recurrences. Hospitalization was only necessary in 5 cases. The present findings are important to emphasize the high incidence of M. pneumoniae respiratory disease in children under 5, and suggests that with respiratory processes affecting very young children, a possible Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection should also be considered and the necessary action taken in the form of early and appropriate treatment.

Key words

Mycoplasma pneumoniae outbreak Respiratory tract infections 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Domínguez
    • 1
  • Sofia Minguell
    • 2
  • Joan Torres
    • 3
  • Angelita Serrano
    • 3
  • Josep Vidal
    • 4
  • Lluís Salleras
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Health RegulationsUniversity of BarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Territorial Delegation of HealthTarragonaSpain
  3. 3.Centre of Primary Care Mora la NovaTarragonaSpain
  4. 4.Laboratory of MicrobiologyHospital ClinicBarcelonaSpain

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