The Epidemiology of Alcohol Abuse and Pneumonia

Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM, volume 14)


The association between alcohol abuse and pneumonia has been recognized for more than two centuries and represents an enormous health burden worldwide. The first published notation of alcohol as a clinical risk factor for the development of pneumonia is now over 200 years old, and since then there have been over a 1,000 references in the medical literature confirming these observations. Even in this modern era of medicine pneumonia remains a common infection that afflicts over 450 million persons worldwide annually and causes 7 % of all deaths. When one considers that alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the world, the enormous excessive burden that alcohol contributes to the morbidity and mortality of pneumonia represents a major public health consideration. In this chapter we review the foundational literature that has chronicled the evolution of our understanding of the association between pneumonia and alcohol abuse over the past century. In addition, we discuss some of the specific pathogens that are particularly associated with serious lung infections in individuals with alcohol use disorders. Finally, we consider some of the specific guidelines for the treatment and prevention of pneumonia in the setting of alcohol abuse.


Alcohol abuse Pneumonia Risk factor Pneumococcus Anaerobic pathogens Haemophilus influenzae Klebsiella pneumoniae Pseudomonas aeruginosa 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Pulmonary and Critical CareLouisiana State University Health Sciences CenterNew OrleansUSA

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