Ureaplasma urealyticum

Ureaplasma urealyticum is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Among the smallest of bacteria; it lacks a cell wall [Fig 1].
    • Member of Mycoplasmataceae family.
    • May be normal component of male/female genital flora.
    • Found normally on genital mucosal surfaces in the 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[4].
      • Association with other disease entities such as PID is less robust.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Among the smallest of bacteria; it lacks a cell wall [Fig 1].
    • Member of Mycoplasmataceae family.
    • May be normal component of male/female genital flora.
    • Found normally on genital mucosal surfaces in the 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[4].
      • Association with other disease entities such as PID is less robust.

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Last updated: December 9, 2019