Pneumonia hospitalizations are common in the U.S. but doctors are still not unable to determine the cause in most cases. According to the study, Etiology of Pneumonia in the Community (EPIC) published in the New England Journal of Medicine, neither viruses or bacteria are detected in most cases.
The study examined three hospitals in Chicago and two in Nashville from January 2010 to June 2012. 2,488 patients were examined with x-rays and extensive diagnostics. Of those, 93 percent had radiologically confirmed pneumonia.
Viruses accounted for 27 percent of the hospitalizations. The most common virus found was human rhinovirus followed by influenza, which caused twice the number of hospitalizations. Bacteria was found in 14 percent of cases. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common bacteria, causing five times the number of hospitalizations in patients 65 years of age and older.
“Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization and death among adults in the United States and in 2011 the medical costs exceeded $10 billion,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “Most of the time doctors are unable to pinpoint a specific cause of pneumonia. We urgently need more sensitive, rapid tests to identify causes of pneumonia and to promote better treatment.”
To lean more about pneumonia, visit CDC.gov/pneumonia