Atypical Pneumonia or Lung Infection

Chest | Pulmonology | Atypical Pneumonia or Lung Infection (Disease)


Atypical pneumonia also known as walking pneumonia is a pneumonia caused by other factors than traditional pathogens, and with a clinical presentation inconsistent with typical pneumonia.

The most common symptoms of pneumonia are: chills, cough (with Legionella pneumonia, you may cough up bloody mucus); fever, which may be mild or high; shortness of breath that may only occur when you climb stairs. Other symptoms include: chest pain that gets worse when you breathe deeply or cough; confusion, especially in older people or those with Legionella pneumonia; headache; loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue; muscle aches and joint stiffness; sweating and clammy skin.

Less common symptoms include: diarrhea, especially with Legionella pneumonia; ear pain, neck lump, rash, sore throat, with mycoplasma pneumonia. Persons with suspected pneumonia should have a complete medical evaluation.

Causes and Risk factors

Atypical pneumonia can be caused by a variety of microorganisms, including Legionella pneumophila, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae. Atypical pneumonia can also have a fungal, protozoan or viral cause.

Complication that can occur: brain and nervous system infections, such as meningitis, myelitis, and encephalitis; Hemolytic anemia and severe lung damage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Depending on the severity of the illness, tests may be done, including: chest x-ray; complete blood count; blood cultures; blood tests to identify the bacteria.

Bronchoscopy (rarely needed); CT scan of the chest; open lung biopsy, but only done in very serious illnesses when the diagnosis cannot be made from other sources and sputum culture. Urine tests or a throat swab may also be done. For the treatment of pneumonia it is important to know the exact causal organism. ...