A growing number of Danes have been diagnosed with a contagious respiratory infection, mycoplasma pneumonia (MP), in the past few weeks, reports Statens Serum Institute (SSI).
“We believe [the situation has already reached the level of] an epidemic, because there has been a sharp increase in the number of samples tested positive for MP,” Søren Anker Uldum, a senior researcher at SSI, told TV2.
“[The epidemic] is not spread evenly across the country, and we don’t know if it will last for long.”
According to SSI, the majority of cases have been recorded in the Capital Region and the Region Northern Jutland, where 24 percent of patients tested positive for mycoplasma in the past four weeks.
Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which clings onto the lung tissue and multiplies until a full infection develops.
It affects mostly young children, older adults and people with weak immune systems.
The main symptoms include a dry cough, chest pain and fever, but in rare cases, the infection can cause damage to the heart or central nervous system.
Diagnosis in the early stages is difficult because of the ‘mild’ symptoms that resemble an ordinary cold.
Treated with antibiotics
However, it is important to seek medical care because MP can only be treated with antibiotics.
Because of the coughing, it is easy for the infection to spread from a person to person.
Proper hand-washing and avoiding closed spaces with many people is recommended.