ERS 2021 — Incidence of Bacterial Pneumonia in the COVID-19 Era

Pavankumar Kamat


September 13, 2021


  • The annual incidence of bacterial pneumonia treated at a secondary care centre in the UK fell by more than a third in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

  • The decline could be potentially attributed to reduced transmission of bacterial pathogens due to the COVID-19-related social distancing measures in place and the use of personal protective equipment by health workers.

Why this matters

  • The findings could help public health practices to implement measures to reduce the transmission of respiratory tract infections, particularly during winters when the burden on healthcare systems is at the peak.

Study design

  • A retrospective study included all patients treated for bacterial pneumonia in 2019 and 2020 at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, UK.

  • Data were also collected on the type of causative bacterial pathogens in cases where they were identified.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • A total of 824 patients were treated for bacterial pneumonia in 2020 as opposed to 1257 patients in 2019, which translates to a 34.45% decline in the number of cases.

  • Causative organisms were identified in 109 (8.67%) of 1257 patients in 2019 and in 50 (6.06%) of 824 patients in 2020.

  • The organisms commonly responsible for cavitating pneumonia such as Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae remained prevalent in 2020 as well.


  • Retrospective design.

  • Single-centre study.


Ur Rehman K, Sivakumar P. Bacterial Pneumonias: Before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Poster ID 289. Session: Clinical features and challenges of COVID-19. Presented at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) Virtual International Congress 2021 on 5 September 2021. 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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