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Postgrad Med. 1996 Jan;99(1):123-8, 131-2.

Atypical pneumonia. Extrapulmonary clues guide the way to diagnosis.

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Infectious Disease Division, Winthrop-University Hospital, Mineola, New York, USA.

Erratum in

  • Postgrad Med 1996 Apr;99(4):64.


In atypical pneumonia, causative organisms are difficult to isolate, so careful clinical assessment is essential in arriving at a working diagnosis. Definitive diagnosis through serologic testing is usually retrospective. Either a high initial titer or a fourfold or greater rise between the acute and convalescent titer is considered diagnostic in a patient with compatible illness. Legionella and mycoplasma organisms may be cultured from respiratory secretions if plated on appropriate culture media. Using a syndromic approach, physicians can almost always differentiate typical from atypical community-acquired pneumonia and narrow diagnostic possibilities among the atypical pathogens, making possible institution of early, possibly lifesaving, empirical therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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