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- Among the smallest of bacteria; lacks a cell well. Member of Mycoplasmataceae family.
- May be normal component of male/female genital flora.
- Found normally on genital mucosal surfaces in majority of sexually active adults.
- Media for growth must contain cholesterol (tissue culture conditions needed); organism hydrolyzes urea--hence its name.
- Usually sub-cultured to blood agar plate for identification. Ureaplasma colonies are of a pinpoint character.
- 17 species recognized from humans, with 4 as most often implicated: usually species can only distinguish in clinical samples by PCR.
- Ureaplasma parvum (Up): most commonly isolated, considered vaginal commensal.
- Ureaplasma urealyticum (Uu): considered most virulent, especially in urethritis afflicting men, although one large study found a lack of association with symptoms.
- Association with other disease entities such as PID is less robust.
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