Mycoplasma pnuemoniae in children with pneumonia at Mbagathi District Hospital, Nairobi

  • G. C. Bii
  • H. Yamaguchi
  • M. Kai.
  • K. Nagai
  • Y. Sugiura
  • H. Taguchi
  • J. M. Chakaya
  • G. G. Mbugua
  • H. Kamiya


Objective: To determine the prevalence of myocoplasma pneumoniae in nasopharyngeal aspirates of children under five years of age sufferning from pneumonia.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Methods: Two primer sets targeting the genes coding for adhesion protein and 16S rRNA were used in PCR and M. pneumoniae specific antibodies were detected using commercial article agglutination kit. Microbiological investigations to isolate common acute respiratory infectious pathogens were also carried out.
Results: M. pneumoniae was detected in nasopharyngeal aspirates of 33.7% of the cases by PCR while serology was positive in only 4.1%. M. pneumoniae alone (single detection) was detected in 25% of the cases while 75% occurred with other acute respiratory infectious (ARI) pathogens. However, the results did not correlate with clinical outcome or the severity of pneumonia. No significant aetiology was found in 28% of the cases investigated, however microbiological investigations by culture revealed the presence of other aetiological agents as follows: Streptococcus pneumoniae (26%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (1%), Staphylococcus aureus (3%), E. coli (2%), parainfluenza viruses (5%), Salmonella(1%), adenovirus (4%), RSV (22%) and Candida spp(13%), Micoplasma pneumoniae was more prevalent in children aged between six months and three years. Cases of M. pneumoniae PCR positive and S. pneumoniae exhibited similar seasonal distribution with peaks in May and September. However, there was no relationship between M. pneumoniae PCR positive and the severity of pneumonia.
Conclusion: More investigation is required to establish the significance of atypical pathogens in respiratory infections in Kenya.

(East African Medical Journal: 2002 79(6): 317-322)

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0012-835X