Respiratory Infections: What Is Acute Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a common acute respiratory infection that affects the alveoli and distal airways; it is a major health problem and associated with high morbidity and short-term and long-term mortality in all age groups worldwide. Pneumonia is broadly divided into community-acquired pneumonia or hospital-acquired pneumonia.

A large variety of microorganisms can cause pneumonia, including bacteria, respiratory viruses and fungi, and there are great geographical variations in their prevalence. Pneumonia occurs more commonly in susceptible individuals, including children of <5 years of age and older adults with prior chronic conditions. Development of the disease largely depends on the host immune response, with pathogen characteristics having a less prominent role. Individuals with pneumonia often present with respiratory and systemic symptoms, and diagnosis is based on both clinical presentation and radiological findings.

It is crucial to identify the causative pathogens, as delayed and inadequate antimicrobial therapy can lead to poor outcomes. New antibiotic and non-antibiotic therapies, in addition to rapid and accurate diagnostic tests that can detect pathogens and antibiotic resistance will improve the management of pneumonia.

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