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The most common pneumonia type occurs outside of hospital settings. It is called community-acquired pneumonia; people get it by breathing in certain germs that live in the mouth, nose, or throat. Another type occurs in the hospital while a person is being treated for something else. Pneumonia can also be spread in other healthcare settings, such as nursing homes.

An Overview of Pneumonia Types

To help with diagnosis and treatment, healthcare providers separate pneumonia into types based on where the infection occurred or for the germ that caused it.
These different types include:
  • Community-acquired pneumonia
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia
  • Healthcare-associated pneumonia.

Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Community-acquired pneumonia is a form of pneumonia that occurs outside of hospitals and other healthcare settings. Most people get it by breathing in germs that live in the mouth, nose, or throat.
Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common type of pneumonia. Most cases occur during the winter. About four million people get this form of pneumonia each year. About one out of every five people who has community-acquired pneumonia needs to be treated in a hospital.
There are more than 100 types of germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) known to cause community-acquired pneumonia. Bacteria and viruses are believed to cause the majority of cases.
(Click Causes of Pneumonia to learn about the specific bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can cause community-acquired pneumonia.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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