Azithromycin prophylaxis during a hospital outbreak of Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia

T. B. Hyde, M. Gilbert, S. B. Schwartz, E. R. Zell, J. P. Watt, W. L. Thacker, D. F. Talkington, R. E. Besser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Outbreaks of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP) in closed communities can have a high attack rate and can last several months. Azithromycin chemoprophylaxis has not been evaluated as a means of limiting transmission. This randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled trial of azithromycin was conducted among asymptomatic hospital employees during an MP outbreak. Oropharyngeal swabs were obtained for detection of MP by polymerase chain reaction, and questionnaires were administered to assess clinical illness. Of the 147 employees who were enrolled, 73 received azithromycin and 74 received placebo. Carriage was similar within and between groups at weeks 1 and 6 (9.6% vs. 6.7% and 10.3% vs. 13.2%, respectively). Four episodes of clinically significant respiratory illness occurred in the azithromycin group versus 16 episodes in the placebo group (protective efficacy, 75%; 95% confidence interval, 28%-91%). Use of azithromycin prophylaxis in asymptomatic persons during an MP outbreak in a closed setting may be of value in reducing clinical illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-912
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Immunology


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