According to a new study, viruses, not bacteria, are the most commonly detected respiratory pathogens in US adults hospitalized with pneumonia.

The EPIC study team enrolled 2,488 eligible adults, of which 2,320 (93 percent) had pneumonia that was confirmed through chest x-rays and extensive diagnostic methods.

“We studied about 2,400 patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia at five hospitals to understand if pneumonia continues to be a significant public health burden and to investigate what pathogens are causing pneumonia in our communities,” said Vanderbilt lead author Wesley Self, M.D., MPH, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“We found that, indeed, community-acquired pneumonia remains a very common reason for hospital admission in the US. We also found that viruses were more commonly associated with pneumonia than bacteria in our study. This highlights the urgent need to develop better diagnostic tests and treatment options for respiratory viral infections,” he said.

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