Mycoplasma Is a Collective Term Referring a Group
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Mycoplasma is a collective term referring a group of bacteria that infect animals, humans and plant species that occur in humans. “Mycoplasma” as a term emerged in the 1950s. The term originated from the Greeks with “mykes” meaning fungus while “plasma” meant formed. Among all microorganisms, it is the smallest strain of bacteria that survives independently. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a microorganism that causes severe airborne infections in humans. Its primary area of violation is within the zones of the respiratory system. IMP is also responsible for a number of extra-pulmonary infectious and post-infectious events. Given the prevalence and severity of MP related infections in humans, there is need for more focused studies to provide an in-depth understanding of its signs and symptoms of its infections, status of laboratory diagnostic methods, and the various methods of treatments.
The MP microorganism sticks to its host for prolonged periods, causing chronic diseases such asthma and arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. In most circumstances, these diseases are mainstays in the affected individuals. Extended periods of stay in the human body can cause severe respiratory complications such as bronchitis obliterans, pleural effusion, and atelectasis in some patients. The use of steroids is one of the viable treatment approaches that can help mitigate the spread and effect of MP in a human host.
Mycoplasma is the smallest independent and self-replicating microorganism of the bacterium species. Its capability of cell free-existence accelerates replication and infection in inflicting pain in human hosts. The MP microorganism lacks a cell wall, which grants them their primary edge over the body’s immunity. The human body’s ability to mitigate the effects of MP, or offer substantial immunity is often inhibited by the microorganism’s lack of a cell wall, making it resistant to antimicrobials. Antimicrobials are procedures used in the elimination or treatment of infectious diseases. They can be in the form of injectable drugs or chemotherapy. Initially, scientists believed that the advent of antimicrobial therapy promised a lasting solution to infectious diseases, until defiant and resistant strains of disease organisms such as MP emerged. The emergence and recurrence these microorganisms require relentless research effort to mitigate their incidence and effect on humans. Antimicrobials such as beta-lactams that have the ability to target the cell wall have proved ineffective in eliminating the MP and similar bacterium strains.
MP in their colonies has a “fried egg” resemblance while in agar plates. Individual spindle-shaped cells of MP are approximately 1 to 2 micrometer long and about 0.1 to 0.2 micrometer wide. A better understanding of their size is in comparison of their cell volume, which is less than 5 percent to that of a typical bacillus. Even in their greatest colonies, MPs are less than a hundred micrometers in length, depicting their extra-minute nature. Scientists use stereomicroscope to enhance the visuals of the morphologic features of MP to observe them in a laboratory setting. According to Chaudhry et al., MP consists of small genome of 800,000 base pairs. By contrast, Atkinson et al., raise this figure by 16, 394 base pairs adding that MP has 687 protein-coding genes. MP has small genomes that are under a thousand kilobase, little genomic redundancy, minimal metabolism. These coupled with self-replicating nature makes a parasitic bacterium which categorically lies in the class of Mollicutes, The absence of a rigid cell makes it imprudent to classify MP in the technique of conventional eubacteria. The microorganism’s unique lack of cellular walls makes them pleomorphic. The small genomes influence many of its biological characteristics and limited biosynthetic capabilities.
Mycoplasma Pneumonia is a particularly aggressive microorganism in human beings. Because these free-living organisms cannot exist on their own, they capitalize on extending their stay in hosts as a method in which they acquire the necessary nutrients. Mycoplasma also requires sterols, which are vital components of their existence. Because these organisms do not have a cell wall, they need to have a mechanism to fill this void. The mycoplasma membrane, which is triple-layered, provides this structural support. Sterols come in as necessary instruments in the creation of the mycoplasma cell membrane. The MP’s susceptibility to desiccation is also another essential feature that can help in understanding their pathophysiology and epidemiology. Their flourishing behavior in an osmotically stable environment does not alleviate the foresaid disability. This is the reason close contact is a channel they exploit in the transmission of infection from one individual to another through free aerial agents.
The 687 protein-coding genes have the duty to provide the cytoskeleton that is fundamental in supporting the cell membrane. Additionally, MP is unable to metabolize and biosynthesize lipids, carbohydrates, and proteins. They circumvent this system by scavenging for nucleic acid precursors. For instance, MP capitalizes on the fermentation of glucose. The entire process results to the generation of Adenosine Triphosphate.
Mycoplasma infections and their related epidemiology are by far dependent on the result of population-based studies. These research studies go aim at ascertaining the nature of these organisms and as well as their prevention and treatment. MP is infamous as a prevalent cause of respiratory tract infections. A more common category under RTIs is the community-acquired pneumonia, a global menace that occurs in all age groups. Modern advancements in technology have been a crucial factor in the continued study of these infections with recent studies indicating that these infections occur endemically, especially particularly in urban settings.Shehab states that they become prevalent at an irregular interval of four years. This does not entirely eradicate the possibility of them infecting people at any time. However, rates of infected people are high in autumn. School-age children are highly predisposed to these infections than any other group in society. While MP accounts for about 18 percent of hospitalized cases, approximately 40 percent of CAP patients are children.
Pneumonia disease is the predominant clinical manifestation of MP infestation. Despite the great strides towards its prevention, MP still contributes to a high percentage of mortality. This being a lower tract infection, it complements the World Health Organization’s sentiments that they are most common infectious causes of death globally. The WHO estimates this figure to be at approximately 3.5 million deaths. This infection rarely attracts the proper level of attention as it is seldom symptomatic and most infected people may fail to seek prompt people do not seek medical care. Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia is a challenge even to medical practitioners because of its non-specific radiological and clinical features. In addition, it lacks accurate or almost accurate diagnostic modalities making the diagnosis process challenging as well as controversial.
MP has been an old-age nemesis in the development of chronic asthma attacks. Some studies have deduced the onset of asthma after an MP infection. In children, the situation gets worse as there is prolonged airway dysfunction and research indicates that this situation can last for years. Its adversity is severe because of its consistency with recurrent infections. Acute Otitis Media is an infection of the upper respiratory infection. It is one of the effects of MP and causes nasopharyngitis, particularly in children. URTI affects the Eustachian tube, impeding the absorption of the mucus of the nasopharynx. Children with URTI usually report pain in the middle parts of the ear.
Signs and Symptoms
Under usual conditions, MP is ordinarily mild. The microorganism is mostly asymptomatic in nature and with symptoms being more pronounced in children than in adults. Adults usually exhibit a higher level of immune responsiveness against reinfections. The MP-related infections are among the primary causes of hospitalizations in the United States even though the bacterium is often called walking pneumonia because of its prevalence among the outpatients. Out of 2776 cases of hospitalized adults, MP accounted for 32.5 percent of them. Increased figures in hospitalized in adults correlated positively with age.
MP is the primary causative agent for respiratory illnesses because of its ability to infect the entire respiratory tracts. The symptom of MP related diseases manifest gradually through the progression of the bacterium. Severe symptoms of MP, especially in the event of disease progression may last extended periods, lasting for weeks or months. At the onset of MP infection, patients may experience a sore throat and hoarseness, initial pharyngitis, and fever. The symptoms then progress to severe uncontrollable cough, which facilitates the spread of the infection to the lower airways. At the initial stages of the infection, the cough is dry and non-productive. However, as time progresses, bits of non-bloody sputum may start to spill out with subsequent coughs. The patient then experiences breathing difficulties or dyspnea, especially when breathing in. For children, coryza and wheezing are common symptoms. Wheezing is a high-pitched sound made while the child is breathing out.
Wheezing could results from coryza. Coryza is instrumental in the formation of mucous membranes, and causes a relative increase of blood flow into the mucosal vessels. Among children, under the age of five, situations as these rarely progress to pneumonia. The symptoms are pose higher risk levels in children between 5 and 15 years due to their higher predisposition to bronchopneumonia. The Hospitalization is advisable for children who develop higher-level risk symptoms. In adults, the situation escalates further and hospitalization may be necessary with further progression. Chest auscultation, – the act of listening to the lungs and heart among other organs via a stethoscope – may show scattered rhonchi and expiratory wheezes. In some instances, extra-pulmonary manifestations may scupper the respiratory picture.
Early diagnosis is vital to alleviate the danger of full-blown illness. Most of the infections are amenable and the faster a patient gets to meet a health practitioner the better. This is a consideration that most people ignore the signs and symptoms as they rarely do overwhelm individuals particularly the adults. In addition, health physicians depend on clinical manifestations and provide empiric treatment. Despite its ‘invisibility,’ MP infections exhibit spontaneous resolution between 7 to 10 days. Early treatment is essential to mitigate the severe effects of MP.
Because MP lacks cell walls, it is requires targeted antibiotic therapy to contain. The use of antibiotics restrains the protein synthesis procedure. Examples of possible antibiotics for use in this treatment include tetracycline, streptogramins, ketolides, and macrolides. However, each of them has different levels of effectiveness. For instance, azithromycin, which is a under the class of macrolide, has better tolerance and better treatment outcomes. Therefore, its course of treatment is relatively shorter. Young children’s bodies are more receptive to macrolides unlike others such as tetracycline that have adverse effects on them. In a few exceptional cases, macrolides have failed to work.
Although serology is a vital process in diagnosis, eradicating the infection is usually a daunting task. Sometimes, the challenging nature of this event leads to inaccuracy in the choice of the suitable measurement. One objective of the treatment process is to mitigate or else halt the DNA replication process. Fluoroquinolones enable this procedure as a form of treating Mycoplasma Pneumoniae pneumonia. Progress in this treatment approach is notable, but there is a necessity to incorporate hematology, immunology, and microbiology to enhance comprehensive therapeutic strategy.
MP related diseases are highly communicable. Quarantine of the affected persons can significantly forestall the spread of the infections. Concentrated locations such as schools, military camps, and hospitals can be effective places for the application of this method.MP can also cause severe sequela like neurological complications. Vaccines are an effective way of reducing the risk of infection and progression of the diseases Vaccines would be effective components in eliminating mild illnesses that cause distress or going farther to preventing the progressive development of devastating infections such as encephalitis. Research in this field analyzing the effectiveness of a vaccine involving 67,268 subjects relayed a positive range of 42 percent to 54 percent, an indication of the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the risk of infection.
Mycoplasma infections cause a wide range of life threatening diseases. Despite these escalating concerns, there is still limited research on the incidence and severity of the MP related infections. Future research on the control of this disease should focus on improving vaccination interventions to mitigate new infections and recurrence of the infections. Health experts should also intensify traditional control mechanisms such as quarantine and proper sputum disposal, especially in crowded areas to mitigate the spread of the infections through interpersonal contact.