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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
Although the germ that causes pneumonia often is difficult to detect, respiratory viruses are more likely than bacteria to result in hospitalization to treat pneumonia, finds a study recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine that updates previous information.
The study of more than 2,300 adults in three Chicago and two Nashville hospitals (between 2010-2012) found viruses in 27 percent and bacteria in 13 percent of patients hospitalized for pneumonia. The study's 32 authors (part of a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention) found human rhinovirus and influenza were the most commonly detected viruses among the patients hospitalized for pneumonia.
The study found pneumonia patients tended to be older — the median age was 57 years — and hospital stays ranged from two to six days. About 22 percent of the pneumonia patients in two cities required admission to intensive care, about six percent required invasive mechanical ventilation, and two percent died during hospitalization.
However, the authors note no discernable pathogens (or germs) were found in about 62 percent of the adults hospitalized for pneumonia during the study.
The authors write (and we quote): 'The low pathogen-detection yield among adults who were hospitalized for pneumonia highlights the need for more sensitive diagnostic methods and innovative discovery of pathogens' (end of quote).
The authors note the findings add to the growing evidence of the extent that viruses contribute to adult hospitalizations, which suggests a need for more precise molecular methods to detect respiratory (and other) germs.
The authors note pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization and death (via infection) in the U.S. and medical costs for pneumonia treatment exceeded $10 billion in 2011.
The authors explain the current study is the first to assess hospitalizations for pneumonia since the availability of a pneumonia vaccine and more sensitive diagnostic tests.
The authors explain the detection of more respiratory virus than bacteria (and we quote) 'probably reflects the direct and indirect benefit of bacterial vaccines and relatively insensitive diagnostic tests' (end of quote).
The study's authors conclude (and we quote): 'the burden of community-acquired pneumonia that requires hospitalization among adults is substantial and is markedly higher among the oldest adults' (end of quote).
Meanwhile, MedlinePlus.gov's pneumonia health topic page notes pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs and can be caused by many germs, such as bacteria and viruses. A helpful overview of pneumonia's health impacts (from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) is available in the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's pneumonia health topic page.
Other useful information about the available vaccine for pneumonia (from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) is available within the 'prevention/screening' section of MedlinePlus.gov's pneumonia health topic page.
Since pneumonia knows no boundaries and impacts persons from all walks of life, MedlinePlus.gov's information about pneumonia is available in 22 languages, found on the right side of MedlinePlus.gov's pneumonia health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's pneumonia health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to relevant clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about pneumonia as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's pneumonia health topic page please type 'pneumonia' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'pneumonia (National Library of Medicine).'
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