The aim of this multicenter study was to identify the causative pathogens of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in Shanghai, China, and to determine their susceptibility to antimicrobial agents. Pathogens obtained from 389 patients with documented CAP during 2001-2003 were identified by multiple diagnostic tools that included bacterial culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and specific immunological assays. Susceptibility of the bacterial isolates was tested by the broth microdilution method. A specific pathogen was identified in 39.8% (155/389) of the patients: Haemophilus influenzae (n=80), Klebsiella spp. (n=15), Streptococcus pneumoniae (n=12), Staphylococcus aureus (n=6), Moraxella catarrhalis (n=1), other gram-negative organisms (n=9), and atypical pathogens that comprised Mycoplasma pneumoniae (n=42), Chlamydia pneumoniae (n=17), and Legionella pneumophila (n=2). Most H. influenzae isolates were susceptible to ampicillin (88.3%), and all were susceptible to macrolides. Of the S. pneumoniae isolates, 75% (9/12) were susceptible to penicillin, while 25% (3/12) were intermediately susceptible. H. influenzae and atypical pathogens are among the most important pathogens of CAP. Ampicillin, cephalosporins, and the newer fluoroquinolones can be used as empirical therapy for CAP in the Shanghai area. The efficacy of monotherapy with newer macrolides for CAP caused by S. pneumoniae requires further evaluation.