CDC Study Highlights Pneumonia Hospitalization Problems

The agency has called for more testing to identify causes.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown how pneumonia is causing harm to adults in the United States due to a lack of knowledge regarding causes and treatment of the illness. The study says neither viruses nor bacteria are detected as the cause of pneumonia in the majority of patients.

"Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization and death among adults in the United States and, in 2011, the medical costs exceeded $10 billion," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH. "Most of the time, doctors are unable to pinpoint a specific cause of pneumonia. We urgently need more sensitive, rapid tests to identify causes of pneumonia and to promote better treatment."

The study used chest x-rays and diagnostic methods to determine the incidence and etiology of community-acquired pneumonia hospitalizations among adults. Viruses were detected in 27 percent of patients and bacteria were detected in 14 percent of patients.

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