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Conditions InDepth: Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious infection of the lungs that causes the air sacs in the lungs to fill with pus and other liquid. The infection may be caused by any of the following causative agents: bacteria, virus, fungi, and mycoplasma. In general, pneumonia is divided into two types: community acquired or hospital or nursing home acquired.

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You may get pneumonia simply because you encounter an organism that you breathe into your lungs. Whether or not you get sick depends on the contagiousness of the organism, the number of organisms you inhaled, and the ability of your immune system to fight infections.

In the United States, pneumonia is a very common illness, especially among people who are elderly.

What are the risk factors for pneumonia?What are the symptoms of pneumonia?How is pneumonia diagnosed?What are the treatments for pneumonia?Are there screening tests for pneumonia?How can I reduce my risk of pneumonia?What questions should I ask my doctor?Where can I get more information about pneumonia?

Revision Information

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  • Mandell LA, Wunderink RG, Anzueto A, et al. Infectious Diseases Society of America/American Thoracic Society consensus guidelines on the management of community-acquired pneumonia in adults. Clin Infect Dis . 2007;44 Suppl 2:S27-S72.

  • Koulenti D, Rello J. Hospital-acquired pneumonia in the 21st century: a review of existing treatment options and their impact on patient care. Expert Opin Pharmacother . 2006;7:1555-1569.

  • Pneumonia symptoms diagnosis and treatment. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/pneumonia/symptoms-diagnosis-and.html . Accessed April 3, 2013.

  • Pneumonia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated March 25, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.

  • Pneumonia in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated March 18, 2013. Accessed April 3, 2013.

  • Niederman MS. Community-acquired pneumonia: management controversies, part 1; practical recommendations from the latest guidelines. J Respir Dis . 2002;23:10-17.