An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of IgG and IgM antibodies against Mycoplasma pneumoniae, performed with commercial antigen and reagents, is compared with the complement fixation test (CF) in a serological study of 209 human sera. Concordant results were usually obtained by CF test and by IgG ELISA in sera from patients with recent M pneumoniae infection. In contrast, when used for an immunological survey of a general population, approximately 27% of the sera negative in the CF test were positive for IgG by the ELISA, and sera with low CF titres were found to have a broad range of IgG titre by the ELISA. This may be due to the greater sensitivity of the ELISA technique and/or to different types of antibody measured by both tests. IgM was detected by ELISA in sera from all patients with recent M pneumoniae infection diagnosed on the basis of clinical findings and by CF assay. Occasionally false-positive IgM antibodies were due to rheumatoid factor (RF); this potential interference necessitates routine testing of IgM antibody positive sera for RF.
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