Mycoplasmas: what is the role in human infections?.

Dulce Domingues, Filipa Nogueira, Luís Tavira, Filomena Exposto

Abstract


Mycoplasmas, the common denomination of the Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma genera, represent a unique and complex group of microorganisms that has been ignored by the majority of diagnostic laboratories, not only because of its fastidious growth, absence of commercial media and of procedures for a rapid diagnosis, but most of all due to a clinical perception established for many years that these microorganisms are of minor importance. Recently, this situation has changed, because there s a better understanding of mycoplasmas clinical importance, they have been recently associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), complications in pregnant women and their neonates and with rheumatological disorders, resulting in a need to cure infected persons. The development of laboratory techniques that allows their culture and identification has contributed for a clarification of the role of these microorganisms as etiological agents or as co-factor of specific diseases. This article wishes to be, not only a revision of the main characteristics of the human mycoplasmas, but also to contribute for a better understanding of the diseases to which these fascinating microorganisms are associated and of the available diagnostic methods by the health professionals.

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