Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M pneumoniae) is commonly called mycoplasma. These are bacteria that can cause throat infections and lung infections such as pneumonia. Many people develop wheezing and coughing with these fairly common respiratory infections. Mycoplasma is contagious when it causes these infections. It can spread quickly through a family or other closely-knit group. In most cases, treatment with an antibiotic will keep the infection from spreading. Preventative measures include frequent hand washing or the use of alcohol-based hand rubs. Also covering your mouth and nose with a tissue before sneezing or coughing will help to decrease the spread.
In a person with asthma, mycoplasma can be in the airways of the lungs without causing an infection. In this situation it is colonizing rather than infecting the lungs. So it is not contagious. This colonization of the lungs can make it difficult for the asthma medicines to help. Being treated with an antibiotic can result in the asthma medicines improving the asthma symptoms.
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