During a briefing, the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that, “As of November 25, 2023, there have been four confirmed cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection among reported Influenza-like Illness (ILI) cases. These cases have been reported in the previous morbidity weeks 3, 30, 37, 38, with one case each.”
In another statement posted on Facebook, the DOH further emphasized that the detected cases are NOT NEW. The statement emphasizes that only 4 (0.08%) of the confirmed ILI cases from January to November 25, 2023, were attributed to M. pneumoniae, commonly known as 'Walking Pneumonia.' All these cases have recovered. More than half of confirmed ILI cases were due to other well-known and commonly detected pathogens. We have medicines that can treat M. pneumoniae; and we can easily prevent its transmission.”
What is Walking pneumonia or Mycoplasma pneumoniae?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a bacterium. It commonly causes mild infections of the respiratory system, now commonly known as walking pneumonia. It can sometimes cause more serious lung infections that could require hospitalization.
What are the symptoms of Mycoplasma pneumoniae?
Infections caused by Mycoplasma pneumonia are generally mild and the symptoms can depend on the type of infection.
In adults, the most common type of infection is tracheobronchitis or a chest cold, which can include the following symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Feeling of tiredness
- Slowly worsening cough that can last for weeks or months
On the other hand, children aged 5 years and below can have different symptoms than older kids and adults. Instead they may experience cold-like symptoms, such as the following:
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Watery eyes
The infection could then lead to pneumonia or lung infection, symptoms of which include:
- Fever and chills
- Feeling tired
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms can appear 1 to 4 weeks after a person gets infected. Doctors can diagnose Mycoplasma pneumoniae by checking the patient’s breathing, or via a chest X-ray or tests done on mucus samples.
How does Mycoplasma pneumoniae spread?
Mycoplasma pneumonia can spread when infected respiratory droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze is breathed in by others.
Short-term exposure to an infected person is generally not risky. However, the bacteria can spread among people who live together.
How is Mycoplasma pneumoniae treated?
Most people typically recover from Mycoplasma pneumoniae without antibiotics and with the help of doctor-prescribed medicines to manage the symptoms.
However, once a person develops pneumonia or a lung infection after a bout of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, doctors typically prescribe antibiotics which can help the person recover. There are a number of antibiotics used to treat Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
How can we stay safe from walking pneumonia?
The DOH recommends the public to keep safe from respiratory illnesses by practicing minimum health standards including washing of hands, social distancing, wearing of masks especially for the vulnerable and those who have coughs and colds, and getting vaccinated.