In a prospective study of 170 adult patients with acute pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae was found to be the aetiological agent in 15 cases (8.8%). The diagnosis in all cases was based on positive cultures of blood or percutaneous lung aspirate, or both. Chronic lung disease was significantly more common in patients with H influenzae pneumonia than in patients with pneumonia due to other organisms but age, sex, and smoking history did not differ significantly. Lobar consolidation was the most common radiological pattern, being present in 10 of the 15 cases. Type b was the commonest serotype isolated, but three cases were due to non-typable (non-capsulate) strains. All patients survived, responding well to treatment with penicillin, ampicillin, or chloramphenicol. Haemophilus influenzae should be considered as a possible cause of pneumonia in adults, particularly those with underlying chronic lung disease.
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