How does the prevalence of viral pneumonia vary by age?

Updated: Mar 24, 2021
  • Author: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Answer

Most viruses that can cause pneumonia generally infect children and cause a mild illness. Healthy adults also develop mild disease. In contrast, elderly persons and persons who are immunosuppressed develop severe viral pneumonia, resulting in high morbidity and mortality rates. [13]

The main exception to this was seen in the 2009-2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic, in which severe infection was more common in the population aged 5-59 years than in the elderly. This was thought to be from lack of exposure, and thus immunity, to the 1957 (and earlier) H1N1 influenza strain(s). [44]


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