Background. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a major pathogen causing community-acquired pneumonia in children and young adults. Outbreaks typically occur at intervals of several years. In 2011, a widespread outbreak was associated with macrolide-resistant M. pneumoniae (MRMP) in Japanese children, often those of school age.
Methods. Two hundred fifty-eight children were diagnosed with M. pneumoniae–associated pneumonia based on chest radiography, real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and antibody titers between January and December 2011. Mycoplasma pneumoniae cultures obtained from nasopharyngeal samples using appropriate broth were subjected to real-time PCR, by which decreases in M. pneumoniae in patients treated with minocycline (MIN), doxycycline (DOX), or tosufloxacin (TFX) were calculated. Mutations of the 23S ribosomal RNA gene that confer high resistance to macrolides in M. pneumoniae were identified by DNA sequencing.
Results. Among 202 M. pneumoniae isolates from M. pneumoniae–associated pneumonia patients, 176 (87.1%) were MRMP. Macrolide-resistant M. pneumoniae infection was significantly related to school age (P < .01) and initial administration of macrolides (P < .01). Minocycline or DOX (n = 125) or TFX or levofloxacin (n = 15) was used for definitive treatment of MRMP patients. Minocycline or DOX was significantly more effective than TFX (P ≤ .05) in achieving defervescence within 24 hours and in decreasing numbers of M. pneumoniae DNA copies 3 days after initiation.
Conclusions. Macrolides are inappropriate as first-choice agents against MRMP in terms of shortening the clinical course and decreasing M. pneumoniae. Control and prevention of MRMP outbreaks in children require early decreases in M. pneumoniae as well as improvement of clinical findings.