Pneumonia is a term used to describe pneumonia that is caused by specific types of bacteria, including chlamydophila pneumoniae, legionella pneumophila, and mycoplasma pneumoniae. Informally referred to as walking pneumonia, this type of pneumonia is not severe enough to merit hospitalization or bed rest for a full recovery. Since it only presents with mild symptoms, you may not feel as if you are sick enough to merit a visit to your doctor. Antibiotics are generally prescribed as a form of treatment. Pneumonia that is caused by mycoplasma pneumonia tends to affect people who are below the age of 40. Studies have suggested that it is responsible for 15 to 50 percent of diagnosed pneumonia in school-aged children and adults. Individuals who are at the highest risk for contracting mycoplasma pneumonia are those working or living in heavily populated areas such as schools, daycare, homeless shelters, and group-homes. However, many individuals who have contracted mycoplasma pneumonia do not have any specific risk factors.
Atypical pneumonia that is caused by legionella pneumophila is responsible for two to six percent of pneumonia cases and presents a higher death rate. Individuals that are at a higher risk for this pneumonia include smokers, older adults, individuals with a weak immune system, and people that already have a chronic illness. It is usually caused by breathing contaminated air that has been exhaled by an infected individual.
Pneumonia that is caused by chlamydophila pneumoniae generally occurs throughout the year and is said to be responsible for five to 15 percent of all pneumonia cases. It presents mild symptoms and has a low rate for cause of death. All individuals and age groups are at risk to develop this type of pneumonia, but it is the most common in school-age children. It is also estimated that around 50 percent of adults in the United States have had a previous pneumonia infection by the age of 20. The common symptoms associated with pneumonia include cough, diarrhea, chills, confusion, fever, muscle stiffness, muscle aches, rash, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, and rapid breathing.
Most individuals who have mycoplasma pneumonia or chlamydophila pneumonia recover with the use of antibiotics. If antibiotics are used for less than two weeks, there is a small risk that the infection may return.
Although most atypical pneumonias is considered to be mild cases of pneumonia, a case of pneumonia that is caused by Legionella pneumophila can be very severe. This may be especially true of individuals who have weakened immune systems, chronic diseases, or are elderly. If atypical pneumonia is not treated in a timely manner, complications may result, including lung failure and hemolytic anemia.