Epidemiology and Molecular Characteristics of Mycoplasma pneumoniae During an Outbreak of M. pneumoniae-associated Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

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Background:An increase in Mycoplasma pneumoniae-associated Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) cases at a Colorado pediatric hospital led to an outbreak investigation. We describe the epidemiologic and molecular characteristics of M. pneumoniae among SJS case-patients and surrounding community members during the outbreak.Methods:M. pneumoniae polymerase chain reaction-positive respiratory specimens from 5 Colorado hospitals and 4 referral laboratories underwent confirmatory polymerase chain reaction testing; positive specimens then underwent multilocus variable-number tandem-repeat analysis (MLVA) and macrolide resistance testing. Three SJS-M. pneumoniae case-patient households were surveyed using a standardized questionnaire, and nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swabs were obtained from all consenting/assenting household contacts. International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision codes were used to identify pneumonia cases among Colorado patients 5–21 years of age from January 2009 to March 2014.Results:Three different M. pneumoniae MLVA types were identified among the 5 SJS case-patients with confirmed infection; MLVA type 3-X-6-2 was seen more commonly in SJS case-patients (60%) than in 69 non-SJS community specimens (29%). Macrolide resistance was identified in 7% of community specimens but not among SJS case-patients. Of 15 household contacts, 5 (33%) were M. pneumoniae positive; all MLVA types were identical to those of the corresponding SJS case-patient, although the specimen from 1 contact was macrolide resistant. Overall pneumonia cases as well as those caused by M. pneumoniae specifically peaked in October 2013, coinciding with the SJS outbreak.Conclusions:The outbreak of M. pneumoniae-associated SJS may have been associated with a community outbreak of M. pneumoniae; clinicians should be aware of the M. pneumoniae–SJS relationship. Household transmission of M. pneumoniae was common within the households investigated.

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