Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Can Mycoplasma Pulmonary Infection Be Treated?

Monday, 19 July 2010 11:25 AM

Question: I have been diagnosed with mycoplasma pulmonary infection, also called NTMB (nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary infection). What are methods of treatment? Do you have any nutritional advice?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Mycoplasmas are organisms that are not visible under a microscope, are difficult to culture, are distinct from bacteria and viruses, and may manufacture substances in our blood that cause common respiratory and genitourinary infections. They are often diagnosed by symptoms alone. Mycoplasmas are a common cause of pneumonia usually with typical x-ray findings and often associated with cough and wheezing as well as a painful infection of the eardrum called bullous myringitis. Mycoplasmas are also suspected in urethritis (an inflammation of the uretha) and in infections such as vaginitis and cervicitis.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is usually treated using macrolide antibiotics (erythromycin family of antibiotics that includes azithromycin), but is also responsive to fluoroquinolone and tetracycline antibiotics. Oral medication is usual for 14 days, though severe cases will need intravenous management. As in all community acquired pneumonias, the prognosis is related to the patient’s general health such as cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) status and immune function. Treatment depends upon severity and may require oxygen, intravenous fluids, bronchodilator (inhaler or mininebulizer) treatment, and pulmonary (lung) therapy in the hospital if severe.

Most cases are effectively treated without complication. We usually minimize contact with infected individuals until they are non-contagious, usually after they’ve taken an effective antibiotic for at least two days. Many cases of mild mycoplasma infection escape detection and resolve without intervention, especially in children.

There is no known nutritional advice specific to mycoplasma prevention. Prevention is presently focused on protecting the respiratory system from infection by avoiding chronic airway irritation (i.e. stop smoking, wear masks when needed etc.), control asthma, eat a well-rounded diet, exercise regularly, and avoid exposure to affected individuals until non-contagious.

© HealthDay

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