Atypical Pneumonia

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) considers the term ‘atypical pneumonia’ misleading, as it incorrectly implies a distinct clinical pattern. Instead, the term atypical pathogen is preferred. 

Atypical pathogens (e.g. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, C. pneumoniae, Coxiella burnetii, C. psittaci) are usually sensitive to antibiotics other than beta-lactams, such as macrolides or fluoroquinolones, which act intracellularly where these organisms replicate.

Legionella species share some characteristics but are not considered ‘atypical’ as there are different species which can be acquired both in the community and hospital environment.


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