Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a significant nonviral cause of acute respiratory disease in children and young adults. The clinical expression of mycoplasmal respiratory tract infection ranges from minor upper respiratory symptoms to acute bronchitis and atypical pneumonia. Indistinguishable respiratory syndromes are commonly caused by several viral agents (1). Mycoplasma pneumonia responds to antibiotics in contrast to the other common respiratory pathogens, but treatment is often inappropriate because mycoplasma infections cannot be distinguished from other causal agents without laboratory aids. Laboratory confirmation by culture is of limited diagnostic use because the organism grows very slowly and may be found in the absence of clinical infection (2, 3). Thus, serodiagnosis, demonstrating changing levels of complement-fixing (CF)3 antibodies to mycoplasma, has become the most widely accepted routine diagnostic tool (4). The CF test, although fairly sensitive and reliable, is a tedious, cumbersome technique, especially for the small laboratory.
This study was supported by Veterans Administration Project 1550-01, and National Multiple Sclerosis Grant 804-C-4.
Abbreviations used in this paper: CIEP, counterimmunoelectrophoresis; CF, complement fixation; complement fixing; CMV, cytomegalovirus.