How common is community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)?

Updated: Oct 31, 2019
  • Author: Stephanie L Baer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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The incidence of CAP varies greatly from country to country. In the United States, CAP is estimated to occur in 248 of 10,000 adults. Other countries report different frequencies, such as 8.1 per 10,000 in Vietnam and 31.2 per 10,000 in the United Kingdom. Rates also vary based on the population studied. In adults older than 65 years, 130.5 per 10,000 develop CAP in Malaysia, whereas 76.5 per 10,000 develop CAP in Germany. In individuals aged 85 years or older in Norway, the incidence of CAP is 172.4 per 10,000. [5] Influenza and pneumonia combined remain in the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, ranking 8 of 10 in 2015. The combination was responsible for 2% (57,062) of deaths in 2015, an increase of 3.3% from 2014. [43] In addition, survivors of CAP have an increased incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality risk for months to years after CAP. As many as 20% of CAP survivors have been shown to have cardiovascular events, and mortality is up to 30% 2-5 years after CAP. [5]

The cost of CAP has been examined in numerous studies. In a 2018 retrospective analysis of claims data for adults aged 65 years or older in a Medicare insurance plan, the rate of CAP was 846.7 per 100,000 person-years, which was greater than rates for myocardial infarction (405), stroke (278.9), and osteoporotic fractures (343.9). This study noted vaccinations against influenza and Pneumococcus infection cost $40 million; however, prevention for stroke and myocardial infarction cost more than $661 million. [44]

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