Pneumonia is a relevant cause of high rates of mortality and morbidity in immunocompromized patients. While most important microbial pathogens of community-acquired pneumonia in immunocompetent adult patients are well characterized according to data from the multicenter study of CAPNETZ, immunocompromized patients often show infections with different, rare and opportunistic microbial pathogens. Especially respiratory viruses should be taken into consideration. Immune suppression can result from HIV infection with depletion of CD4 lymphocytes, in patients with lymphoma, leukemia or solid tumors regarding aggressive cytostatic chemotherapy or transplantation or from immunosuppressive therapy in rheumatic or autoimmune diseases. The diagnosis of viral pneumonia is difficult because of atypical symptoms, unspecific changes in inflammatory blood parameters and several possible types of X-ray changes. This makes it even more important to have a clear proof of viral infection, such as molecular biological diagnostics from respiratory specimens prior to treatment with antiviral therapy, as antiviral therapy is known to possibly cause severe side effects and should thereby be considered carefully.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)