Journal Article

Acute Childhood Encephalitis and <i>Mycoplasma pneumoniae</i>

Ari Bitnun, Elizabeth Lee Ford-Jones, Martin Petric, Daune MacGregor, Helen Heurter, Susan Nelson, Grant Johnson and Susan Richardson

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 32, issue 12, pages 1674-1684
Published in print June 2001 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online June 2001 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Acute Childhood Encephalitis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae

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In a prospective 5-year study of children with acute encephalitis, evidence of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection was demonstrated in 50 (31%) of 159 children. In 11 (6.9%) of these patients, M. pneumoniae was determined to be the probable cause of encephalitis on the basis of its detection in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or by positive results of serologic tests for M. pneumoniae and detection of the organism in the throat by PCR. CSF PCR positivity correlated with a shorter prodromal illness (P = .015) and lack of respiratory symptoms (P = .06). Long-term neurologic sequelae occurred in 64% of probable cases. Thirty children (18.9%) who were seropositive for M. pneumoniae but did not have the organism detected by culture or PCR had convincing evidence implicating other organisms as the cause of encephalitis, suggesting that current serologic assays for M. pneumoniae are not sufficiently specific to establish a diagnosis of M. pneumoniae encephalitis.

Journal Article.  7160 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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