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How Common is Pneumonia?

Pneumonia is a major cause of illness in the United States.1

Each year:1

  • People get pneumonia in daily life through the home or workplace (community-acquired pneumonia). Community-acquired pneumonia does not include cases of pneumonia contracted in a health care facility (such as a nursing home or a hospital). Pneumonia is more common during the winter months.
  • About 1 million of the people who get community-acquired pneumonia each year will have to go to the hospital.
  • About 60,000 cases result in death.

People older than 65 years:2

  • Make up about one-third of all cases of community-acquired pneumonia.
  • Are hospitalized more often and stay longer in the hospital than younger people.


  1. Katz JT (2009). Pneumonia and other pulmonary infections. In EG Nabel, ed., ACP Medicine, section 7, chap. 20. Hamilton, ON: BC Decker.

  2. Niederman MS (2004). Pneumonia, including community-acquired and nosocomial pneumonia. In JD Crapo et al., eds., Baum's Textbook of Pulmonary Diseases, 7th ed., vol. 1, pp. 424-454. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology

Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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