Although Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP) is a major pathogen of primary atypical pneumonia in children, the clinical and laboratory characteristics of MP infection in large pediatric population are less reported. Here, we retrospectively analyzed 12,025 hospitalized children with respiratory infection by using serology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods simultaneously. The results showed that 2433 (20.23%) children had MP infection, which mainly occurred in November to April. The presence of sore throat and pharyngitis was peculiar to MP infection. The positive percentage of MP-DNA was higher than that of MP-IgM in children aged <1 (P < 0.0001) and 1-3 years (P < 0.0001). Moreover, the positive rate of P1 gene, the key adhesion gene for MP infection, was higher in children with MP infection than in those with other pathogens (P < 0.0001). Our work provides the clinical information of children MP infection and highlights the superiority of PCR and potential usage of P1 as a diagnosis target for MP infection.
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