What is the mortality and morbidity of viral pneumonia?

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

The US census for 2000-2001 listed pneumonia/influenza as the seventh leading cause of death (down from sixth) despite a 7.2% decrease in the mortality rate for these diseases during this period. Severe influenza seasons can result in more than 40,000 excess deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations.

Patients aged 65 years or older are at particular risk for death from viral pneumonia as well as from influenza not complicated by pneumonia. Deaths in these patients account for 89% of all pneumonia and/or influenza deaths.

Morbidity, especially in elderly persons, is also high. Up to 10-12% of patients older than 65 years required a higher level of assistance for activities of daily living after hospitalization for acute respiratory illnesses. In one nursing home outbreak, residents with acute influenza illness showed significant functional decline. [45]

Pneumonia from adenovirus serotypes other than Ad 14 has a low fatality rate, and most serotypes have a low morbidity rate.


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