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Pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization among adults and children in the United States with high medical cost. Despite the large disease burden, critical gaps in our knowledge remain. Specifically, contemporary estimates of the incidence and etiology of community-acquired pneumonia hospitalizations based on prospectively collected data are needed. Over the last three decades, successful pneumococcal and Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccination has markedly reduced the burden of disease associated with these pathogens, including that associated with pneumonia. In addition, recent availability of molecular diagnostic tests for respiratory pathogen detection provides new opportunities to detect viruses and bacteria in patients hospitalized with pneumonia. Monitoring the burden of pneumonia, as well as its causes can help guide policy and future treatment recommendations.

The EPIC study was a prospective, multicenter, population-based, active surveillance study; systematic enrollment and comprehensive diagnostic methods were used. The main objective of the EPIC study was to determine the burden of pneumonia hospitalizations in U.S. children and adults as well as to identify viruses and bacteria associated with these hospitalizations. Patients were enrolled from January 1, 2010 – June 30, 2012, at three pediatric hospitals in Memphis, Nashville, and Salt Lake City, and five adult hospitals in Chicago and Nashville.

Inclusion criteria:
  • Admission to a study hospital
  • Residence in the study catchment area
  • Evidence of acute infection
  • Evidence of acute respiratory illness
  • Chest radiography consistent with pneumonia
Exclusion criteria:
  • Recent hospitalization
  • Severe immunosupression
  • Residence in an extended care facility or a nursing home unable to function independently
  • Presence of alternative respiratory diagnosis

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