The American Thoracic Society (ATS) and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) yesterday published updated guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of adults with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), and certain changes could prove antibiotic-sparing.

The new guidelines, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, were produced by a multidisciplinary panel of 15 experts from the United States, Australia, and Canada and reflect new and relevant research that’s been published since the last CAP guidelines were issued by ATS and IDSA in 2007. They cover diagnosis and treatment of one of the most common infectious diseases in the world and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality.

“CAP remains one of the leading causes of deaths in the world,” Grant Waterer, MBBS, PhD, co-chair of the guideline committee and a professor of medicine at the University of Western Australia, said in an ATS press release. “Not only has there been new data in the past decade, but there is now a strong national and international focus on antibiotic stewardship.  It was time to update the guideline so that clinicians could be certain they were still practicing evidence-based care.”

While CAP—defined as pneumonia acquired outside of the hospital—can be caused by either bacteria or viruses, distinguishing between viral and bacterial is challenging. It is commonly treated empirically with antibiotics upon diagnosis, and the choice of antibiotic is based on severity of illness, comorbidities, and other risk factors.

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Notable changes

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