Mycoplasma pneumoniae and other pathogens in the aetiology of lower respiratory tract infections among Japanese children

J Infect. 1988 May;16(3):253-61. doi: 10.1016/s0163-4453(88)97604-9.


The causes of lower respiratory tract infections in 1544 children attending a Japanese hospital over a period of 7 years were investigated. Both cultivation and two serological techniques were used to detect Mycoplasma pneumoniae whereas viral involvement was investigated only by serology. Pathogens were identified in 52% of 1175 patients with pneumonia and 36% of 369 patients without pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection was specifically diagnosed in 414 (26.8%) of the 1544 patients. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) was dominant in children up to 2 years of age. By the age of 3 years, M. pneumoniae was equalling it in incidence and became the main pathogen in older groups. It is suggested that M. pneumoniae may be more important in the 3-6 years age group than hitherto suspected. These observations may influence the choice of antibiotics for treating lower respiratory tract infections in childhood.

MeSH terms

  • Adenovirus Infections, Human / epidemiology
  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Japan
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae / isolation & purification
  • Paramyxoviridae Infections / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology*
  • Respirovirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Seasons