Microbiology: The Elusive PPLO

The elusive little bugs are smaller than typical bacteria but are generally bigger than true viruses. Even with an electron microscope they are so difficult to corner and classify that their very name is vague—PPLO (for pleuropneumonia-like organisms). But these days that name keeps popping up in lab reports from all over the world.* The baffling microbes have already been indicted for complicity in causing diseases ranging from puerperal (childbed) fever to the "viral pneumonia" that afflicts so many recruits in boot camps. Now they are even being suspected as a possible cause of cancer.

Breakout After Stress. Like viruses,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!