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Definition of «Pneumocystis pneumonia»

Pneumocystis pneumonia: A fungal infection of the lungs that is particularly common and life-threatening in premature or malnourished infants and in immunosuppressed persons. Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is the most common opportunistic infection in people infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

PCP causes fever, cough, shortness of breath and cyanosis. Untreated, it leads to pulmonary consolidation, low blood oxygen levels, and death.

The diagnosis of PCP requires microscopical identification of pneumocystis from a source such as sputum, bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, or lung tissue, because pneumocystis cannot be cultured in the laboratory. The most common treatment for PCP is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Preventative treatment (prophylaxis) is available to prevent PCP in persons at elevated risk.

See also: Pneumocystis.

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