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M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae are no relevant pathogens in critically ill patients with hospital-acquired respiratory tract infections

  • Stefan HagelEmail author
  • Svenja Schmitt
  • Miriam Kesselmeier
  • Michael Baier
  • Tobias Welte
  • Santiago Ewig
  • Mathias W. Pletz
Brief Report



To assess the incidence of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae in the pathogenesis of hospital-acquired respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in critically ill patients.


This is a retrospective cohort study of all ICU-patients ≥ 18 years with RTI who underwent conventional culture techniques and PCR testing for both M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae from respiratory tract specimens (bronchoalveolar lavage or tracheobronchial aspirates) between January 2013 to May 2017 at the Jena University Hospital.


In total, 314 patients were included in the analysis. Of these, 210 (66.9%) patients were diagnosed with HAP, 65 (20.7%) with VAP and 39 (12.4%) with VAT. Overall, 73 (30.7%) patients were on mechanical ventilation on the day of microbiological examination. PCR-testing for M. pneumoniae was positive in two patients (0.6%) and for C. pneumoniae in zero patients.


Our study shows that the incidence of M. pneumoniae and C. pneumoniae in the pathogenesis of hospital-acquired RTIs in critically ill patients is negligible. The results support the recommendations of the guidelines not to perform empiric therapy covering these pathogens.


Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) Ventilator-associated tracheobronchitis (VAT) Mycoplasma pneumoniae Chlamydia pneumoniae 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests relevant to the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Infectious Diseases and Infection ControlJena University HospitalJenaGermany
  2. 2.Research Group Clinical Epidemiology, Center for Sepsis Control and Care (CSCC)University HospitalJenaGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Medical MicrobiologyJena University HospitalJenaGermany
  4. 4.Department of Respiratory MedicineHannover Medical SchoolHannoverGermany
  5. 5.Department of Respiratory Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Thorax Centre in the Ruhr AreaEvangelic Hospital in Herne and Augusta Hospital in BochumBochumGermany

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