Causes

Pneumonia occurs when an infection of the upper airway spreads deep into the lung tissue and invades the alveoli. It may develop from a cold virus, but it is usually caused by bacteria, especially pneumococcal bacteria. Other, more obscure sources of infection are carried by mycoplasma and rickettsia (microorganisms). Pneumonia may be associated with immunodeficiency disorders, in which case unusual fungi or protozoa may be responsible. Pneumocystis pneumonia— common among AIDS sufferers—is an example of this. People taking inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs long-term, or who smoke, are more likely to develop pneumonia than those who do not. The disease may also be caused by inhaling liquids or poisonous gases such as chlorine.

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