Aetiology and clinical presentation of mild community-acquired bacterial pneumonia

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2003 Oct;22(10):584-91. doi: 10.1007/s10096-003-0997-0. Epub 2003 Sep 12.


A prospective study was initiated to analyse the bacterial aetiology and clinical picture of mild community-acquired pneumonia in Slovenia using the previously described Pneumonia Severity Index. Radiographically confirmed cases of pneumonia in patients treated with oral antibiotics in seven study centres were included. An aetiological diagnosis was attempted using culture of blood and sputum, urinary antigen testing for Streptococcus pneumoniae and Legionella pneumophila, and antibody testing for Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella pneumophila in paired serum samples. One hundred thirteen patients were evaluable for clinical presentation and 109 for aetiological diagnosis. At least one pathogen was detected in 62.4% patients. The most common causative agents were Mycoplasma pneumoniae in 24.8%, Chlamydia pneumoniae in 21.1%, and Streptococcus pneumoniae in 13.8% of patients. Dual infection was detected in 8.3% of patients. Most patients suffered from cough, fatigue, and fever. Patients with atypical aetiology of pneumonia differed from those with typical bacterial pneumonia or pneumonia of unknown aetiology in age, presence of dyspnea, and bronchial breathing on lung auscultation. Patients with pneumococcal, chlamydial, and mycoplasmal infections differed in age, risk class, presence of dyspnea, bronchial breathing, and proteinuria. There was an overlap of other clinical symptoms, underlying conditions, and laboratory and radiographic findings among the groups of patients classified by aetiology. Since patients with mild community-acquired pneumonia exhibit similar clinical characteristics and, moreover, since a substantial proportion of cases are attributable to atypical bacteria, broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment seems to be recommended.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / microbiology*
  • Pneumonia, Bacterial / physiopathology
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Slovenia / epidemiology