Real-time PCR was employed to detect a conserved region of the P1 cytadhesin gene of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in combined nose and throat swabs collected from patients attending GP surgeries during 2005-2009 with symptoms of respiratory tract infection (RTI). Samples were collected as part of an annual winter epidemiological and virological linked study in England and Wales. A total of 3,987 samples were tested, 65 (1.7%, 95%CI 1.3-2.1) had detectable M. pneumoniae DNA. Positive patients were detected of both gender, aged from 9 months to 78 years, who had clinical signs of upper RTI, fever and/or myalgia, an influenza-like illness to lower RTI. Mixed infections were identified in four cases, two with influenza A H1, one with H3 and one with influenza B. Children aged 5-14 years were more likely to have detectable M. pneumoniae in samples than all other age groups (Fishers p = 0.03), attributed to the 2005-2006 season in which 6.0% (12/200, 95%CI 3.4-10.3) of 5-14 year olds had detectable M. pneumoniae in comparison to 2.2% in 2006-2007 (3/141 95%CI 0.5-6.4), 2.2% in 2007-2008 (2/89 95%CI 0.1-8.3) and 0% in 2008-2009 (0/151 95%CI 0-2.9).