While many may not know this, there are various types of pneumonia. The most common variant, CAP (community-acquired pneumonia), is the most prevalent strain of the infectious disease. As the name may suggest, CAP is acquired through daily interactions (whether that may be contact or inhalation of pathogens which could later travel to the lungs) with any surface that has bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.
While pneumonia is a well-known infectious disease among the population in 2019 due to the plethora of literature and research done on it, most people do not know that other variants of pneumonia are contracted in different ways, through different strands of bacteria. HAP (hospital-acquired pneumonia or healthcare-associated pneumonia) can be contracted from extended periods of time in a hospital, nursing home, or rehabilitation center. This pneumonia variant is a result of the P. aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which are completely different from the bacteria that cause CAP.
The demographics of people who suffer from each of these variants appear to be mostly similar with the only difference being that CAP has a stronger association with COPD whereas HAP still has an association with COPD, but in a smaller portion of the demographic. Similarities between the two are the increased risk if one uses tobacco products or suffers from COPD, however, aside from these shared risk factors, the two variants are different in treatment methods (effectiveness of certain antibiotics) and contraction.
Relative to the microbiome, the major differences in the diseases can be found when testing biomarkers. According to Ann Transl and Thomas Tschernig of the “Annals of Translational Medicine”, “lower levels in HAP as compared to CAP were found for MMP-8 and soluble E-selection, higher levels in HAP as compared to CAP were found for protein C”.
The significance of this discovery lies in the fact that the different variants of pneumonia could not be prevented, diagnosed, or treated in the same ways, thus exemplifying the dangers that would arise if the different variants were not classified and identified.