Last updated: August 2, 2017
Mycoplasma is a type of bacteria.
Mycoplasma can cause sore throat, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Mycoplasma is usually spread from person-to-person through the air and by direct contact.
Mycoplasma is found in the throat of infected persons and is spread to other people through the air by sneezing or coughing. It can also be spread by touching tissues or other things recently soiled by secretions from the nose or throat of an infected person.
People of any age can get Mycoplasma.
Children under 5 years usually have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. The illness is recognized more in school-age children and young adults. Occasionally, epidemics can occur, especially in schools, military populations and institutions (colleges, for example) where people are in close contact. These occur more often in late summer or fall.
Symptoms to look for include:
- Cough, often in spasms
- Chest discomfort
- Sore throat
Symptoms start from 6 to 32 days after exposure. The illness can last from a few days to a month or more (especially coughing). Complications do not happen often. No one knows how long an infected person remains contagious, but it is probably less than 20 days.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is usually diagnosed by a physician.
Treatment is available.
In some cases, the disease may need to be treated with certain antibiotics. While antibiotics help an infected person feel better faster, they do not remove the bacteria from the throat. Mycoplasma can remain in the throat for as long as 13 weeks.
Steps to take to prevent the spread of Mycoplasma infection:
- Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Use tissues when coughing, sneezing and wiping or blowing the nose. Throw the tissues away.
- Wash hands after coughing, sneezing and wiping or blowing the nose. See Hand Washing.
- Stay home if sick.