The role of atypical pathogens: Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila in respiratory infection

Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1998 Sep;12(3):569-92, vii. doi: 10.1016/s0891-5520(05)70199-9.


Infections caused by M. pneumoniae, C. pneumoniae, and Legionella spp. are important causes of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). In the past decade, considerable new information has come to light concerning these organisms. Despite this, debate continues concerning the syndromic approach to CAP and the scientific merit of lumping these pathogens together. Because the etiologic diagnosis of these pathogens is established only in a minority of cases, the true prevalence tends to be underestimated. In clinical practice, these pathogens are often empirically treated. More rapid and cost-effective diagnostic techniques are needed so that the clinical course of patients with these infections can be better characterized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia Infections / therapy
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae*
  • Humans
  • Legionella pneumophila*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / diagnosis
  • Legionnaires' Disease / epidemiology
  • Legionnaires' Disease / microbiology*
  • Legionnaires' Disease / therapy
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / therapy
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / microbiology
  • Pneumonia, Mycoplasma / therapy
  • Prevalence


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antigens, Bacterial