Community-acquired pneumonia is a disease of high morbidity and mortality.
Demographic changes in industrialised countries with a growing
population of elderly persons will add to its significance. In the last years
much progress in the field of community-acquired pneumonia has been
achieved. Vaccination programs against influenza and Streptococcus pneumoniae
have been established. Risk-adjusted management of patients with
community-acquired pneumonia allows to identify patients in need of hospitalisation
and intensive care and helps to choose an effective antibiotic
therapy. “New” pathogens such as C. pneumoniae, Legionella pneumophila,
Chlamydia-like organisms, the human coronavirus or the avian influenza
virus have been detected. In spite of all progress, clinical diagnosis of community-
acquired pneumonia is by no means trivial; detection of respiratory
pathogens often fails or gives inconclusive results and duration and choice
of antibiotics still is a matter of debate.
Moreover, many patients progress from uncomplicated pneumonia to
severe pneumonia and even to pneumonia-related septic shock despite
adequate antibiotic therapy. Therefore, besides new antibiotics we definitely
need a non-antibiotic approach and a better understanding of what determines
individual immune responses to pneumonia is crucial. Fundamental
molecular and cellular pathologic characteristics of disease must be linked
with clinical aspects of infection.
The present book is intended to bridge the gap between basic science,
clinical research and patient management and to crosslink patient care with
biology and microbiology. It gives a state of the art information on different
aspects of community-acquired pneumonia and allows the reader to
get data on recent developments in community-acquired pneumonia. The
editors Norbert Suttorp, Tobias Welte and Reinhard Marre themselves,
representing clinical medicine, clinical research, microbiology as well as cell
biology, hope that this book will help to manage patients with communityacquired
pneumonia and to identify promising areas of research.