The lack of rapid and standardized tests for diagnosing Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) respiratory tract infections is a common problem in many countries. This pro-spective study was conducted to determine the prevalence of M. pneumoniae using classical enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques among patients with respiratory tract infections in Nablus District. The study in-cluded 129 patients who visited or were admitted to the involved clinics. At first visit to clin-ical settings, a throat swab was collected from all participants and serum specimens were col-lected from 103 patients. A second serum specimen was available for 16 patients. Throat swab specimens were tested by nested PCR for the detection of M. pneumoniae. Serum samples were tested for the presence of IgG and IgM antibodies by ELISA. Out of 129 exam-ined throat swab specimens, M. pneumoniae was detected by PCR in 15(11.6%) samples. M. pneumoniae specific IgM was detected in 4(3.9%) out of the 103 first serum samples. A total of 47(45.6%) patients possessed IgG in the first and/or second serum specimens. Ac-cording to the applied diagnostic criteria (at least 2 positive tests), 10(7.8%) patients were di-agnosed with current M. pneumoniae infection. The sensitivity of PCR was higher (100%) than that of ELISA-IgM (40%) in the first serum specimen. Most of M. pneumoniae infec-tions were diagnosed during winter (8 out of the 10 cases). The highest percentage of M. pneumoniae respiratory infection (11.3%) was found in patients with the age range 25-64 years. There were no significant differences in the frequency of signs and symptoms in pa-tients with M. pneumoniae infection compared to those with other infectious agents. The frequency of increase in WBCs and granulocytes counts were significantly lower in patients with M. pneumoniae infection (P = 0.006 and <0.001, respectively) compared to other infec-tious agents. While, frequency of increase in lymphocyte count in patients with M. pneu-moniae infection was significantly (P=0.001) higher. In conclusion, M. pneumoniae seems to be an important etiological agent in respiratory tract infections in the area, thus more attention is required in adopting health policy for diagnosis and used medication policies.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)