Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is one of several diseases in which individuals who have not recently been hospitalized develop an infection of the lungs (pneumonia). CAP is a common illness and can affect people of all ages. CAP often causes problems like difficulty in breathing, fever, chest pains, and a cough. CAP occurs because the areas of the lung which absorb oxygen (alveoli) from the atmosphere become filled with fluid and cannot work effectively.
CAP occurs throughout the world and is a leading cause of illness and death. Causes of CAP include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. CAP can be diagnosed by symptoms and physical examination alone, though x-rays, examination of the sputum, and other tests are often used. Individuals with CAP sometimes require treatment in a hospital. CAP is primarily treated with antibiotic medication. Some forms of CAP can be prevented by vaccination.
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