Mycoplasma pneumoniae antibodies - serum

Last updated: Thursday, 18, October, 2007

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Item Process

5-10 mL blood in plain tube (acute and convalescent specimens).



Reference Interval

Not detected.


Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection should be considered as a possible cause of pneumonia, especially in patients under 40 years with an atypical presentation.

May rarely be performed in an effort to determine the aetiology of neurological syndromes (eg, meningoencephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome), pericarditis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, erythema nodosum and cold haemagglutinin-mediated haemolytic anaemia.


Recent infection is confirmed by a four-fold rise in titre between acute and convalescent (three weeks or more) sera.

High titres can persist for more than one year and may not indicate recent infection.

False positives can occur eg in acute pancreatitis.

Presence of IgM antibodies indicates recent infection. Adults with recurrent infection often do not develop an IgM response.


Waites KB and Thacker WL. Clin Microbiol Newslett 2001; 23: 123-129.