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Am J Med. 2004 Aug 2;117 Suppl 3A:39S-50S.

Streptococcus pneumoniae and community-acquired pneumonia: a cause for concern.

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Infectious Disease Service, Summa Health System, Akron, Ohio, USA.


Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is the sixth most common cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of death from infectious diseases. It is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, and poses a major economic burden to the healthcare system. Streptococcus pneumoniae is the leading cause of CAP. Other common bacterial causes include Haemophilus influenzae as well as atypical bacteria (Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella species). Increasing resistance to a variety of antimicrobial agents has been documented in S. pneumoniae and is common in H. influenzae as well. Successful empiric therapy is paramount to the management of CAP to avoid treatment failure and subsequent associated costs. Given that resistance is increasing among respiratory pathogens, and S. pneumoniae is the most common etiologic agent identified in CAP, strategies for antimicrobial therapy should be based on the likely causative pathogen, the presence of risk factors for infection with resistant bacteria, and local resistance patterns.

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