NEW DELHI: The health ministry on Thursday claimed that the seven cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae detected at AIIMS, Delhi weren’t linked to the recent surge in respiratory infections among children reported from some parts of the world, including China.
“The seven cases have been detected as part of an ongoing study at AIIMS, Delhi in the six-month period (April to September 2023) and are no cause for worry,” the ministry said in a statement.
It added that since January 2023, no Mycoplasma pneumoniae was detected in the 611 samples tested at the department of microbiology, AIIMS Delhi as a part ICMR’s multiple respiratory pathogen surveillance, which included mainly severe acute respiratory illnesses.
“Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the commonest bacterial cause of community acquired pneumonia. It is the reason for nearly 15-30% of all such infections. Such a surge has not been reported from any part of India,” the government said, adding that it is keeping a close watch on the situation.
A recent report in Lancet Microbe details the results of global surveillance initiated in April 2022 that was carried out on 45 sites in 24 countries to monitor the presence of Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
According to the report, in countries where M pneumoniae has re-emerged, case numbers are comparable to pre-pandemic (endemic) numbers. “The further development of re-emergence should be monitored to evaluate whether case numbers will escalate to epidemic levels or result in an exceptionally large wave of infections as was observed for the resurgence of other pathogens,” it said. “The progression and severity of re-emergence are difficult to predict and whether it will lead to an increase in rare cases of severe disease and extrapulmonary manifestations because of the previously reduced exposure remains unknown,” the report said.
Compared with other pathogens, M pneumoniae is atypical in many ways: it is one of the smallest self-replicating organisms, has a reduced and highly stable genome, lacks a cell wall, grows slowly, requires close contact for transmission and has a distinct disease presentation (atypical pneumonia), states the report
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