Mycoplasma-Induced Rash and Mucositis
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Descriptive article of the ophthalmic manifestations of Mycoplasma-Induced Rash and Mucositis
Mycoplasma-Induced Rash and Mucositis (MIRM) is recognized by the following codes as per the International
Classification of Diseases (ICD) nomenclature:
- 041.81 Other specified bacterial infections in conditions classified elsewhere and of unspecified site, mycoplasma
- B96.0 – Mycoplasma pneumonia as the cause of diseases elsewhere
- B96.0 – Mycoplasma pneumonia as the cause of diseases elsewhere
Mycoplasma-Induced Rash and Mucositis (MIRM), also known as Mycoplasma pneumoniae-associated mucositis (MPAM) is an extrapulmonary manifestation of Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) that has recently been distinguished from Erythema Multiforme (EM), Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN).This disease is characterized by a severe mucositis that predominantly affects the oral mucosa, but can involve the conjunctiva and genital mucosa as well. Ocular involvement is variable, but it generally includes a bilateral conjunctivitis without chemosis and notably, no corneal involvement. Other ophthalmic features can include mucoid discharge, conjunctival epithelial defects, eyelid margin hyperemia and staining, and/or pseudomembranes. While there is limited data published regarding the ocular manifestations of MIRM, the current data suggests that MIRM typically has a more limited ocular course and a more favorable ocular prognosis compared to SJS/TEN.
Previously, M. pneumoniae associated mucocutaneous eruptions were labeled with different designations along the spectrum of erythema multiforme (EM), Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) based on the varied presentations of these cases. However, recent studies have separated MIRM as a distinct entity, including a large systematic review by Canavan et al. Some distinguishing features include its predilection for young patients, predominant mucosal involvement, sparse vesiculobullous and/or targetoid cutaneous eruption, and great overall prognosis. More distinguishing traits are summarized in Table 1 and in the respective sections below.
|Table 1: Distinguishing characteristics comparing Mycoplasma-induced rash and mucositis (MIRM), erythema multiforme (EM), and Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) / Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN).|
|Trigger||M. Pneumonia||HSV||Drug induced|
|Patient Demographics||Younger males||Younger males||Adults|
|Rash Characteristics||Prominent mucositis, limited cutaneous vesiculobullous lesions +/- targetoid eruption||Classic acral target lesions||Extensive and central target lesions with potential for extensive detachment (TEN)|
|Frequency of Ocular Disease||82%||5-23%||50-88%|
Mycoplasma pneumoniae (M. pneumoniae) is a common cause of skin and respiratory infections, pneumonitis, bronchitis, and febrile upper respiratory infections. M. pneumoniae is also an important cause of community-acquired pneumonia in children, which often has extra-pulmonary manifestations in up to 25% of patients, most commonly mucocutaneous involvement as in MIRM. MIRM typically affects younger patients and has less severe cutaneous findings and a more favorable prognosis compared to SJS/TEN. MIRM commonly involves more than one mucous membrane, most prominently the oral mucosa with vesiculobullous lesions and extensive oral erosions. A systematic review of patients with MIRM found that most patients were young males (66%), with a mean age of 11.9 years old, and ocular findings were present in 82% of these patients.
The precise pathophysiology of MIRM is not completely understood. One proposed mechanism is polyclonal B-cell proliferation and antibody production with subsequent immune complex deposition and complement activation that could cause skin damage. Another possibility is molecular mimicry between Mycoplasma P1-adhesion molecules and a host's keratinocytes. Conversely, erythema multiforme type diseases likely involve cytotoxicity mediated through a perforin/granzyme pathway with Fas ligand and granulysin and a type IV delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction.
MIRM typically affects younger patients with a slight male predominance. Patients generally have a prodrome of fever, malaise, and cough approximately one week prior to the onset of mucocutaneous eruption. Mortality is low, most patients have a full recovery from their disease, and recurrence is uncommon (8%). Prominent involvement of the mucosal membranes with limited cutaneous involvement is the common presentation; however, there are forms with no cutaneous involvement, which can be classified as MIRM sine rash .
MIRM is a diagnosis made by a combination of clinical, radiographic, and laboratory findings, and does require a high level of suspicion.
Most patients are seen in the inpatient setting; therefore, the exam can be performed with an indirect ophthalmoscope, 20 diopter lens, fluorescein stain, and cobalt blue light source to evaluate the anterior segment. A thorough evaluation of the cornea, conjunctiva (bulbar and palpebral), and eyelids (including mucocutaneous junction) is necessary to evaluate the extent of ocular involvement. One must assess for the presence of epithelial sloughing as evidenced by fluorescein staining on the above surfaces. In addition, a combined effort with dermatology and urology is useful for evaluation of dermatologic manifestations and for evaluation/treatment of patients with extensive genital mucosal involvement.
MIRM features a prominent mucositis and almost always has oral involvement that can be in the form of vesiculobullous lesions and extensive erosions (Figure 1). It typically involves 2.5 mucosal sites, most commonly ocular and oral, and a characteristic cutaneous sparse vesiculobullous and/or targetoid eruption. Ocular involvement is varied but generally includes a bilateral conjunctivitis without chemosis or corneal involvement. Additional potential findings include mucoid discharge, conjunctival epithelial defects, eyelid margin hyperemia and staining, and/or pseudomembranes (Figure 2). These ocular findings may initially be subtle, and thus the need for close ophthalmology follow up both inpatient and outpatient are important to prevent permanent ocular surface damage from MIRM.
The diagnosis of MIRM depends on the typical features as described above and evidence of recent infection with M. Pneumoniae. Diagnostic criteria for typical cases of MIRM proposed by Canavan et. al are summarized below. These criteria also apply to atypical cases but with different skin findings. MIRM sine rash has few fleeting morbilliform lesions or few vesicles, while severe MIRM has extensive widespread blisters or flat atypical targets.
Typical MIRM Criteria:
- <10% BSA with detachment:
- > 2 mucosal sites involved
- Few vesiculobullous lesions, or scattered atypical targets
- Presence or absence of targetoid lesions (Figure 3)
- Atypical pneumonia
- Signs: fever, cough, auscultatory or radiographic findings
- Labs: increase in M. Pneumoniae IgM antibodies, M. Pneumoniae in oropharyngeal or bullae cultures or PCR, and/or serial cold agglutinins
Laboratory testing for M. Pneumoniae includes: isolation, complement fixation, molecular-based detection assays such as PCR, and serologic testing. Serologic testing demonstrating IgM antibodies for M. Pneumoniae suggests recent infection, but these levels can remain elevated for several months. Therefore, more accurate diagnosis is found with paired serologic testing that demonstrates either seroconversion from absence of IgM to presence of IgM or four-fold increase of IgG titers from acute to convalescent phase samples.
Since MIRM predominantly affects the pediatric population the differential diagnosis summarized in Table 2 lists possibilities more prevalent in this demographic.
|Table 2. Differential Diagnosis|
|Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis|
MIRM has a better overall prognosis compared to SJS and TEN with regards to morbidity and mortality. Ocular complications of EM and SJS/TEN are well described in the literature and can result in debilitating sequelae, including symblepharon, keratinized mucosal surfaces, scarred lid margins, entropion, trichiasis, limbal stem cell failure, and corneal scarring. Based on the systematic review by Canavan et al. ophthalmic consequences of MIRM can include corneal ulcers, conjunctival shrinkage, blindness, synechiae, dry eyes and madarosis; however, these were present in only 8.9% of cases. A more recent case series with far fewer patients demonstrated that with proper topical treatment most patients have a complete ocular recovery with BCVA 20/25 or better and only one patient suffered from eyelid margin scarring.
Currently there is no standardized treatment regimen for patients with MIRM; however, the treatment guidelines for SJS by Gregory can be applied to these patients given the similar presentation, and systemic treatment for the underlying Mycoplasma pneumoniae is critical. The Gregory guidelines for treatment of SJS categorize patients into mild, moderate, severe, and extremely severe based on the location and extent of conjunctival and corneal epithelial sloughing. This epithelial involvement can be measured with the amount of fluorescein staining. Patients that fall in the mild and moderate categories were treated medically with a combination of drops and those that were severe or extremely severe required surgical amniotic membrane transplant (AMT) in addition to medical therapy. The criteria that stratified patients as severe was involvement of more than 1/3 of the eyelid margin, and/or more than 10 cm in diameter of bulbar conjunctiva, with or without more than punctate staining of the cornea.
Topical therapy following the SJS treatment protocol consists of an antibiotic drop QID, cyclosporine 0.05% drops BID, steroid drops BID, and an antibiotic or combination antibiotic/steroid ointment to eyelid margins BID to QID.
Surgical therapy is primarily AMT once patients meet criteria as listed above. Importantly AMT should be performed within seven to 10 days from onset of epithelial sloughing as prior studies have shown decreased efficacy past this time frame.
Patients with MIRM may have less impressive initial findings; however, like SJS/TEN these patients have a dynamic disease course that can vary drastically on a daily basis. Left untreated, patients are still at risk, albeit lower, of symblepharon and ocular surface scarring. Therefore, close follow-up with daily ophthalmic exam while patients are hospitalized is crucial to promptly institute necessary medical and/or surgical therapy in order to prevent permanent sequelae.
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