Background: Mycoplasma pneumoniae generally causes pneumonia of mild to moderate severity in adults. However, little is known about the time course of the resolution of symptoms in this illness.
Objectives: To determine the time course of the resolution of symptoms in M pneumoniae pneumonia.
Methods: The severity of fatigue, cough, dyspnea, sputum and pleuritic chest pain were self-scored and recorded daily for 14 days and on days 30 and 42. Each symptom was scored on a scale of 0 to 5. The sum of the five symptom scores had a range of 0 to 25 and was transformed into a value from zero to 100 by multiplying by four.
Results: The mean composite symptom score for 76 patients was 59 (out of 100) at presentation, which declined to a score of 17 on day 14. Patients with a score of greater than 20 on day 14 had significantly higher scores throughout the course of the illness. Thirty-four per cent of those who were employed did not take time off work.
Conclusions: Most patients with M pneumoniae pneumonia had resolution of their symptoms within two weeks; however, 12.6% were still symptomatic at 42 days.