Eighty per cent of the cases of acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) have an infective aetiology, atypical bacteria including Mycoplasma pneumoniae accounting for 5-10% of these. However, the importance of association of M. pneumoniae with episodes of AECOPD still remains doubtful. The present study was therefore undertaken to delineate the extent of involvement of M. pneumoniae in patients with AECOPD at a referral hospital in Delhi, India. Sputum samples and throat swabs from a total of 100 AECOPD patients attending the Clinical Research Center of Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, Delhi, were collected during a 2-year period (January 2004-June 2006). The samples were investigated for the presence of aerobic bacterial pathogens and M. pneumoniae. Diagnosis of infection with M. pneumoniae was based on culture, serology, direct detection of M. pneumoniae specific antigen and PCR. Bacterial aetiology could be established in 16 of the 100 samples studied. Pseudomonas spp. were recovered from eight cases, Streptococcus pneumoniae from four and Klebsiella spp. from two cases. Acinetobacter sp. and Moraxella catarrhalis were isolated from one case each. Serological evidence of M. pneumoniae infection and/or detection of M. pneumoniae specific antigen were seen in 16 % of the cases. One case with definite evidence of M. pneumoniae infection also had coinfection with Pseudomonas spp. However, no direct evidence of M. pneumoniae infection was found in our study population as defined by culture isolation or PCR. In conclusion, although the serological prevalence of M. pneumoniae infection in our study population was significantly higher than in the control group, there was no direct evidence of it playing a role in AECOPD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)