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Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Antibody IgG-IgM

What are the mycoplasma-pneumonia antibodies (IgG, IgM) test?

Mycoplasma pneumonia antibodies (IgG, IgM) test helps examine our blood by detecting the presence of antibodies against mycoplasma pneumonia. Our immune system makes these antibodies in response to exposure to this bacterium. They may also be produced against red blood cells, brain, lung, and liver cells, involved in the extra-pulmonary aspects of the infection. Mycoplasmas are the smallest free-living organisms; they can be as small as 0.3μ in diameter. Mycoplasma causes infections that are common in children and young adults.

These bacteria usually cause atypical pneumonia. Atypical pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that cannot be detected by the usual bacterial diagnostic methods and has a different nature than typical pneumonia

Mycoplasma pneumonia is transmitted into the lungs via respiratory droplets. It is then attached to the respiratory epithelium, causing damage to respiratory tract cells. Only 10% of the people who get mycoplasma pneumonia develop pneumonia. Once mycoplasma pneumonia enters the respiratory tract, it takes at least a week to form a colony visible on culture. In this case, the IgG and IgM antibodies test may be useful. Mycoplasma pneumonia is not visible on gram staining due to the lack of a cell wall, making serum antibody testing the best option.

What is this test used for?

This test is used to diagnose any current or previous infections caused by mycoplasma pneumonia and to diagnose the body’s developed immunity against it. Mycoplasma pneumonia antibodies (IgG, IgM) test is specifically useful to diagnose atypical pneumonia, which eventually leads to community-acquired pneumonia

Our immune system produces two antibodies in the blood after exposure to Mycoplasma pneumonia, IgG and IgM. IgM antibodies are produced just after exposure to the bacteria, and they remain in the blood for a few months. Whereas IgG antibodies are produced as a late response to the bacteria, once made, some of these antibodies remain in the blood for a lifetime.

Why and when do you need a mycoplasma pneumonia antibodies (IgG, IgM) test?

Your doctor may suggest this test to spot an active or previous mycoplasma-pneumonia interaction or if your doctor has suspected this bacterium as the cause of your respiratory infection. The infection caused by mycoplasma pneumonia may be presented with symptoms like;  

If the bacterium has infected the lower respiratory tract and has gone deep, it will produce the following symptoms;

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Severe chest pain.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Malaise (feeling of discomfort without identifying the exact cause).
  • Increased heart rate.
    Your doctor can also order this test if you have been in close contact with people carrying mycoplasma pneumonia.

What kind of sample is required for the mycoplasma pneumonia antibodies (IgG, IgM) test?

A blood sample is used to check the mycoplasma pneumonia antibodies (IgG, IgM). For that, a nurse or lab technician will look for a suitable vein on your arm or the back of your hand. After which, the area will be cleaned, and a needle will be inserted into the vein, drawing out blood collected into a tube. This blood sample is then sent to the laboratory to check for mycoplasma antibodies. 

Do you need to prepare for the test?

There is no need to prepare for the test, as it is just a normal blood test. You are also allowed to eat or drink normally before the test. However, if you take any medications, you should enlist them to your doctor to avoid any unnecessary alterations in the test results.

Are there any risks to this test?

A blood test usually has very slight risks involved, including discomfort and little bleeding during the test and soreness or bruising after the test. Some serious complications may rarely occur, which are;

  • Excess bleeding.
  • Infection at the puncture site.
  • Hematoma (blood accumulation under the skin).
  • Dizziness or fainting.

What does the test result mean?

A positive result from this test does not necessarily mean that you have mycoplasma pneumonia in your blood. False-positive test results occur in influenza virus and adenovirus infections. It is recommended to leave the diagnosis to your doctor after discussing the test results.

If mycoplasma pneumonia is confirmed, your respiratory tract is most likely infected. In adults, classic atypical or walking pneumonia is very mild and asymptomatic. It can cause upper and lower respiratory infections, initially causing throat infection and pain. In most cases, the cough is non-productive. In children, however, the development of bronchopneumonia may be seen.
The development of mycoplasma pneumonia in our body can also trigger autoimmunity, which results in extra-pulmonary involvement. You may experience extra-pulmonary symptoms before or after the respiratory symptoms;

  • The central nervous system is most frequently affected, exhibiting meningitis.
  • Dermatological manifestations are commonly associated with Steven’s Johnson syndrome, which exhibits inflammation of mucous membranes along with systemic symptoms such as fever.
  • Gastrointestinal involvement is present with nausea, vomiting, and rarely pancreatitis and hepatic necrosis.
  • Hematological involvement caused due to autoimmunity may show autoimmune hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopenia.

There is a chance that mycoplasma pneumonia is present simultaneously with other bacteria, which is relatively an intensified and severe case.

Related Tests:

  • PCR (polymerase chain reaction) mycoplasma.
  • Mycoplasma culture.
  • Chlamydia pneumonia diagnostic test.
  • Legionella diagnostic test.
  • Influenza test.
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