Background: Mycoplasma genitalium is regarded as a potential pathogen of the human urogenital tract based on prevalence findings of several European studies.
Goal: To determine the prevalence of M genitalium in urethral specimens of symptomatic patients with nongonococcal urethritis and from asymptomatic patients attending a sexually transmitted disease clinic in Milan, and to verify the clinical efficacy of M genitalium eradication by antibiotic treatment.
Study design: From May 1998 to late April 1999, a routine analysis for M genitalium by DNA amplification (polymerase chain reaction) was performed in patients attending the Institute of Dermatological Science in Milan. The authors examined urethral swabs from 178 symptomatic and 23 asymptomatic males. M genitalium-positive patients were clinically and microbiologically tested after treatment with either doxycycline or azithromycin.
Results: Among males with nongonococcal urethritis, M genitalium was detected in 14.0% of patients as the only agent; in 15.1% of patients in association with Chlamydia trachomatis and/or Ureaplasma urealyticum; and in 1 asymptomatic patient. In all symptomatic M genitalium-positive patients, antibiotic treatment eradicated the infection and cured clinical symptoms.
Conclusion: These data reveal the high prevalence of M genitalium in symptomatic patients, the rarity of asymptomatic carriers, the high susceptibility to antibiotic treatment, and the clinical efficacy of M genitalium eradication. Moreover, data confirm the etiologic role of M genitalium in inflammatory processes of the human urogenital tract in the Mediterranean area.