Causative Agents

Ureaplasma, belonging to the family of Mycoplasmataceae, differs from Mycoplasma as it hydrolyzes the urea complex by utilizing urease enzyme. It is 300nm in size, non-encapsulated, immobile, gram negative, facultative anaerobic bacteria. [1]


Ureaplasma (U. urealyticum) consists of 14 serovars, which is divided into two main biovars, (U. urealyticum and U. parvum) (biovar 1 and biovar 2) on the basis of phenotypic and genotypic characteristics. It is the common inhabitant of the respiratory and urogenital systems of men and women. It is found in about %70 of sexually active humans which usually remains asymptomatic, however has been described to be associated with various intrauterine infections such as nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) that may cause; infertility, chorioamnionitis, stillbirth, premature birth or neonatal infections (chronical respiratory diseases). [2]

Modes of Transmission

Ureaplasma is mostly transmitted in direct contact. Sexual transmission through direct contact between couples, (genital-genital or oral-genital) is the most common transmission way. Moreover, vertical transmission from mother to offspring or hospital-acquired infections from transplanted tissues are the other ways of transmission. Apart from the sexual transmission, direct contact to infected materials can cause the transmission. [3]


Although the common ‘selective culture method’ is thought to be the ‘gold standard’; it is non-sensitive, time-consuming and not a practical method. The Real-Time PCR method is a simple, fast, practical and highly sensitive method allowing to the quantification of bacterial load in order to detect and monitor the further periods of infection and the effectivity of treatment. [4]


1) Xuan Caoa, Yefu Wang, Xingwen Hub, Hong Qingc, Hanhua Wang, Real-time TaqMan polymerase chain reaction assays for quantitative detection and differentiation of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Ureaplasma parvum, Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 57 (2007) 373–378

2) Jongyoun Yi, Bo Hyun Yoonb, Eui-Chong Kim, Detection and biovar discrimination of Ureaplasma urealyticum by real-time PCR, Molecular and Cellular Probes 19 (2005) 255–260

3) Stavroula Baka, Evangelia Kouskouni, Stavroula Antonopoulou, Dimos Sioutis,  Prevalence of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Mycoplasma hominis in Women With Chronic Urinary Symptoms,  UROLOGY 74 (1), 2009

4) K. Mallard, K. Schopfer, T. Bodmer, Development of real-time PCR for the differential detection and quantification of Ureaplasma urealyticum and Ureaplasma parvum, Journal of Microbiological Methods 60 (2005) 13– 19

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