A potential role for Chlamydia species and Mycoplasma species in recurrent tonsillitis seems intriguing and has prompted Charnock et al1 to examine these possible associations with the use of varied laboratory methods. Although they suggest that such disease associations do not exist, these conclusions need to be tempered by the limitations of the microbial detection methods they describe.
For Mycoplasma pneumoniae, the use of the first generation of genetic probes is hindered by the limited sensitivity of the assay (approximately 103 to 105 colony-forming units). Such limitation, for example, had detracted from the use of such an assay on throat swabs from acutely infected patients.2 Furthermore, the limitation of culture to 6 days of incubation is excessively brief. Some M pneumoniae cultures may not be positive for weeks.3 Therefore, both methods lead to a significant bias toward the detection of larger numbers of the
Cimolai N. Chlamydia Species and Mycoplasma Species in Recurrent Tonsillitis. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993;119(9):1043–1044. doi:10.1001/archotol.1993.01880210137021
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