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DOI: 10.1128/JCM.00710-20; PMCID: PMC7512161


Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a major cause of community-acquired pneumonia. There are limited data in the United States on the molecular epidemiological characteristics of M. pneumoniae We collected 446 M. pneumoniae-positive specimens from 9 states between August 2012 and October 2018. Culture, antimicrobial susceptibility testing, P1 subtyping, and multilocus VNTR (variable-number tandem repeats) analysis (MLVA) were performed to characterize the isolates. Macrolide-resistant M. pneumoniae (MRMp) was detected in 37 (8.3%) specimens. P1 subtype 2 (P1-2) was the predominant P1 subtype (59.8%). P1 subtype distribution did not change significantly chronologically or geographically. The macrolide resistance rate in P1 subtype 1 (P1-1) samples was significantly higher than that in P1-2 (12.9% versus 5.5%). Six P1-2 variants were identified, including two novel types, and variant 2c was predominant (64.6%). P1-2 variants were distributed significantly differently among geographic regions. Classical P1-2 was more frequent in lower respiratory tract specimens and had longer p1 trinucleotide repeats. Classical P1-2 was most common in MRMp (35.7%), while variant 2c was most common in macrolide-susceptible M. pneumoniae (67.5%). Fifteen MLVA types were identified; 3-5-6-2 (41.7%), 4-5-7-2 (35.3%), and 3-6-6-2 (16.6%) were the major types, and four MLVA clusters were delineated. The distribution of MLVA types varied significantly over time and geographic location. The predominant MLVA type switched from 4-5-7-2 to 3-5-6-2 in 2015. MLVA type was associated with P1 subtypes and P1-2 variant types but not with macrolide resistance. To investigate the M. pneumoniae genotype shift and its impact on clinical presentations, additional surveillance programs targeting more diverse populations and prolonged sampling times are required.

Journal Title

Journal of clinical microbiology






MLVA; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; P1; genotype; macrolide resistance; variant


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