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Mycoplasma Blood Test

Last updated Oct. 11, 2015


What are the other Names for this Test? (Equivalent Terms)

  • Mycoplasma DNA Blood Test
  • Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Culture Blood Test
  • Mycoplasma Pneumoniae IgG and IgM Antibodies Blood Test 

What is Mycoplasma Blood Test? (Background Information)

  • Mycoplasma is a category of bacteria that exist normally in the body, which may also cause diseases under certain circumstances. They possess several unique properties, including an extremely small size that makes it difficult to identify and control them
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae (or M. pneumoniae) is a species within the mycoplasma genus that causes respiratory illness, known as atypical pneumonia. It is especially prevalent, where people stay/reside within close quarters, such as schools and military facilities
  • M. pneumoniae is responsible for many millions of cases of respiratory illness in the world, each year. These occur periodically, both as single cases and relatively widespread epidemics
  • Mycoplasma also infects other areas of the body, such as the genitals and prostate. These organisms are transmitted through sexual contact and may cause pelvic inflammatory disease and enlarged prostate
  • When infection by M. pneumoniae occurs, as with other infections, levels of immunoglobulins (Igs) increase in blood
  • Immunoglobulins (Igs) are a category of proteins produced by immune cells that aid in bodily defense against outside invaders. They recognize characteristic surface markings (antigens) on a foreign object and bind them away, before any damage is done to the body
  • There are 5 five main types of immunoglobulins; each type, differing in its function and distribution throughout the body. The 5 types are:
    • IgA
    • IgG
    • IgE
    • IgD
    • IgM
  • Immunoglobulins can reside either on the outside of cells, or freely circulate in blood. When circulating, they are also called antibodies (Abs). IgM and IgG in particular increase with M. pneumoniae
  • The Mycoplasma Blood Test is a test to detect infection by M. pneumoniae. The detection methods include the following:
    • Antibody levels in blood testing: To assess the levels of IgM and IgG for spikes attributable to infection by M. pneumoniae in blood
    • PCR Assay for Mycoplasma (DNA Testing): To evaluate a bodily sample for the presence of mycoplasma DNA. This is done using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test
    • Mycoplasma Culture Testing: To evaluate a blood sample for the presence of mycoplasma cells, by inoculating a specialized medium with the sample and checking for any growth 

What are the Clinical Indications for performing the Mycoplasma Blood Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Mycoplasma Blood Test:

  • Persistent dry cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Genital discharge 

How is the Specimen Collected for Mycoplasma Blood Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Mycoplasma Blood Test:

Sample required: Blood

Process: Insertion of a needle into an arm vein.

Preparation required: No special preparation is needed prior to the test. 

What is the Significance of the Mycoplasma Blood Test Result?

  • A positive Mycoplasma Blood Test may indicate infection by mycoplasma, including M. pneumoniae, M. hominis, or M. genitalium 

The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. 

Additional and Relevant Useful Information:

  • Re-infection with mycoplasma is possible, but it is more easily controlled, than the initial infection 

Certain medications that you may be currently taking may influence the outcome of the test. Hence, it is important to inform your healthcare provider, the complete list of medications (including any herbal supplements) you are currently taking. This will help the healthcare provider interpret your test results more accurately and avoid unnecessary chances of a misdiagnosis. 

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

DoveMed is currently working to bring you additional resources.

Please sign up by creating a DoveMed account to receive periodic notification on information updates. 

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Lab Tests Online (2014, May 13). Retrieved September 20, 2014 from http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/mycoplasma/

Madigan, M. T. (2012). Brock biology of microorganisms (13th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Benjamin Cummings.

Martini, F., Nath, J. L., & Bartholomew, E. F. (2012). Fundamentals of anatomy & physiology (9th ed.). San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 21, 2014
Last updated: Oct. 11, 2015