Emerging role of Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae in paediatric respiratory-tract infections

Lancet Infect Dis. 2001 Dec;1(5):334-44. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(01)00147-5.


Increased use of specialised diagnostic techniques over the past 10 years has allowed considerable new information to be obtained concerning Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydia pneumoniae infections. In children, these pathogens seem to have a more important role in causing respiratory-tract infections than previously thought; they have been associated with wheezing, and they are also frequent in children aged under 5 years. Contrary to original belief, no clinical, laboratory, or radiological findings seem to be unique to M. pneumoniae or C. pneumoniae; furthermore, there is no rapid and cost-effective diagnostic test capable of identifying these pathogens. Appropriate antimicrobial treatment of the infections they cause is needed to reduce the recurrent episodes of wheezing and other respiratory symptoms, to decrease morbidity, and to avoid the spread of the pathogens. However, a number of therapeutic issues remain unsolved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydophila Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydophila Infections / drug therapy
  • Chlamydophila Infections / microbiology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae* / drug effects
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Macrolides
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae* / drug effects
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / drug therapy
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / microbiology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Macrolides