The persistence of mycoplasmas in the urogenital tract of men in the Antarctic

A series of meatal swabs, taken from 17 men over a period of 17 months during their tour at an Antarctic base was examined for mycoplasmas. The number of organisms isolated never exceeded 104 and not every specimen from each man yielded mycoplasmas. Nevertheless, Mycoplasma hominis was isolated from 71% and T-mycoplasmas from 59% of the men at some time during their stay. M. hominis persisted in the presence of serum IHA antibody titres of 1/64. Three subjects yielded only M. hominis and one only T-mycoplasmas. Six men had already spent a year at the base when the study began and mycoplasmas were still being isolated from some of them at the end of a 31 month period of isolation. The persistence of mycoplasmas in the male genital tract can therefore be independent of sexual contact. Two modes of persistence are suggested; either a few men act as carriers and reinfect the others by contaminating their environment, or as seems more likely, most men have chronic infections.


Publication status:
Authors: Holmes, M.J., Furr, Patricia M., Taylor-Robinson, D.

1 January, 1974
Journal of Hygiene / 72
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