Community Acquired Bacterial Pneumonia

Community-acquired bacterial pneumonia (CABP) is a lung infection caused by bacteria that develops in people with limited or no contact with medical institutions or settings.

  • The most common symptom of pneumonia is a cough that produces sputum, however chest pain, chills, fever, and shortness of breath are also common
  • Doctors diagnose community-acquired pneumonia by listening to the lungs with a stethoscope and by reading x-rays of the chest

CABP ranges in severity from mild infections that are successfully treated with oral antibiotics in the outpatient setting to severe infections that require hospitalization and treatment with monotherapy or a combination of intravenous antibiotics. In the most severe cases, CABP can result in complications such as respiratory failure and septic shock.

While several bacterial pathogens can cause CABP, Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main culprit with about 500,000 cases of pneumonia in the United States each year. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a leading infectious cause of hospitalization and death among US adults.

According to the Center for Disease Control, antibiotic resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in the United States is responsible for:

  • 2 million resistant infections per year
  • 19,000 excess hospitalizations
  • 7,000 deaths per year

The emergence of antibiotic resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae is an increasingly common problem in the United States and elsewhere, with more than 40% of all pneumococci falling into this category by current in vitro definitions of resistance.

Staphylococcus aureus is another bacterial pathogen that may cause CABP.  Since the year 2000, the number of cases of pneumonia caused by Staphylococcus aureus that are resistant to some types of antibiotics has increased. This bacterium is known as community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), and it can cause severe pneumonia.

Please watch the video below of Dr. Niederman, Professor of Clinical Medicine and Clinical Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He describes the challenges of treating CABP considering the high rates of antibiotic resistance to many currently used antibiotics.