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Mycoplasma Body Swab Test

Last updated July 15, 2019

Approved by: Maulik P. Purohit MD, MPH

The Mycoplasma Body Swab is a body swab test to detect infection by M. pneumoniae.

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

  • Mycoplasma DNA Body Swab Test
  • Mycoplasma PCR Body Swab Test
  • Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Culture Body Swab Test 

What is Mycoplasma Body Swab 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 Body Swab is a body swab test to detect infection by M. pneumoniae. The detection methods include the following:
    • 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 bodily swab 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 Body Swab Test?

Following are the clinical indications for performing a Mycoplasma Body Swab Test:

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

How is the Specimen Collected for Mycoplasma Body Swab Test?

Following is the specimen collection process for Mycoplasma Body Swab Test:

Sample required: Body Swab

Process: Gently scraping an affected area, such as the mouth or genitals, with a sterile swab resembling a Q-tip.

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

What is the Significance of the Mycoplasma Body Swab Test Result?

  • A positive Mycoplasma Body Swab 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.

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Sept. 21, 2014
Last updated: July 15, 2019