Mycoplasma pneumoniae and mucositis – part of the Stevens-Johnson syndrome spectrum


Patrick M. Meyer Sauteur, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases and, Hospital Epidemiology, University Children's Hospital, of Zurich, Steinwiesstraße 75, CH-8032 Zürich, Switzerland. Tel.: +41-44-266-8081 Fax: +41-44-266-8072 E-mail:


Background: Mycoplasma pneumoniae may induce mucosal inflammation, referred to as M. pneumoniae-associated mucositis (MPAM). There is no generally accepted definition of MPAM, since there may be mucosal lesions only, or mucosal and minimal skin lesions.

Patients and Methods: We conducted a literature review of MPAM, paying particular attention to pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, treatment decisions, and prognosis.

Results: We identified 32 cases of MPAM (median age 13.5 years), whereof 23 patients were otherwise healthy children and young adolescents (72%). M. pneumoniae infection was associated with fever and respiratory symptoms in all calls; it was confirmed by serology (n = 30) and/or PCR (n = 9). Oral lesions were present in all cases, followed by ocular (97%) and uro-genital lesions (78%). Despite the syndrome's name postulating the absence of cutaneous involvement, minimal skin lesions occurred in 31%. Treatment regimens included systemic antibiotics (100%) and systemic anti-inflammatory treatment with corticosteroids (31%) or immunoglobulins (9%). Macrolides were given in 81%, with failure, relapse, and/or worsening in one-third of patients. No patient suffered long-term sequelae.

Conclusion: MPAM is a distinct extra-pulmonary manifestation falling into the continuum of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This entity may be due to inflammatory mechanisms suggesting that systemic anti-inflammatory treatment is even more important than antimicrobials.