Atypical pneumonias: current clinical concepts focusing on Legionnaires’ disease.

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Atypical pneumonias: current clinical concepts focusing on Legionnaires' disease.

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2008 May;14(3):183-94

Authors: Cunha BA

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review provides clinicians with an overview of the clinical features of the atypical pneumonias. Atypical community-acquired pneumonia pathogens cause systemic infections with pneumonia. The key to the clinical diagnosis of atypical pneumonias depends on recognizing the characteristic pattern of extrapulmonary organ involvement different for each pathogen. As Legionella is likely to present as severe pneumonia and does not respond to beta-lactams, it is important to presumptively diagnose Legionnaires' disease clinically so that Legionella coverage is included in empiric therapy. This study reviews the clinical features and nonspecific laboratory markers of atypical pathogens, focusing on Legionnaires' disease. RECENT FINDINGS: Case reports/outbreaks increase our understanding of Legionnaires' disease transmission. Both Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophilia pneumoniae may cause asthma. Antimicrobial therapy of Chlamydophilia pneumoniae/Mycoplasma pneumoniae is important to decrease person-to-person spread and to decrease potential long-term sequelae. SUMMARY: Atypical pulmonary pathogens cause systemic infections accompanied by a variety of characteristic extrapulmonary features. Clinically, it is possible to differentiate Legionnaires' disease from the other typical/atypical pneumonias. Rapid clinical diagnosis of atypical pathogens, particularly Legionnaires' disease, is important in selecting effective empiric therapy and prompting definitive laboratory testing.

PMID: 18427241 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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