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January 9, 1991

Mycoplasma and Epidemic Group A Meningococcal Meningitis

Author Affiliations

University of Washington Seattle

University of Washington Seattle

JAMA. 1991;265(2):212. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460020066020

To the Editor.—  In an otherwise nicely carried out case-control study of meningococcal meningitis, Moore et al1 cultured mycoplasmas from cell cultures that had been inoculated with throat and nasal specimens. The specimens were treated with medium containing 100 mg/L of streptomycin. Mycoplasma hominis isolates from humans are susceptible to streptomycin.2Mycoplasma hominis is a frequent contaminant of tissue cultures,3 and it is possible that the mycoplasmas recovered were contaminants of the cell cultures used for virus isolation. The differences between the cases and controls could have resulted from the cases being tested at a different time, as indicated in the article, with different batches of cell cultures. Inoculation of artificial medium directly with specimens is the preferred method for detection of mycoplasmas.The authors speculate that M hominis infections could give rise to antibodies measurable by the lipid complement-fixation test for Mycoplasma pneumoniae antibodies. This is