What is Atypical Pneumonia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is pneumonia that is not caused by the same bacteria that causes “typical pneumonia.”

Typical pneumonia tends to be more severe than atypical pneumonia.

This type of pneumonia is also sometimes referred to as “nomadic pneumonia” because it is less severe than other forms of lung infection.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is a type of atypical pneumonia. It is caused by the bacterium M. pneumonia. It usually affects people under 40 years of age.

This pneumonia is caused by bacteria related to the bacterium Chlamydia occurs throughout the year and represents 5-15% of all pneumonia. It is usually mild.

Legionella pneumonia is most often seen in middle-aged adults and elderly, smokers, and people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems. It can be more severe.

Pneumonia due to mycoplasma bacteria and Chlamydophila are usually mild.


Legionella pneumophila pneumonia worsens during the first 4-6 days and then improves for 4 – 5 days.


Atypical pneumonia constitutes a significant proportion of pneumonia acquired in the population.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is the causative organism of up to 20% of acquired pneumonia in the population and is often observed in pediatric people and young adults.

It is significantly associated with patients who live in nearby communities.

Chlamydophila pneumoniae is the causative organism that is up to 10% of pneumonia acquired in the population and, like Mycoplasma pneumoniae, it often affects pediatric populations and young adults.

The specific causative organisms have other associated epidemiological associations; For example, infection with Legionella pneumophila is associated with immunocompromised patients and exposure to contaminated aerosolized water (for example, air conditioning systems). Infection with Coxiella burnetii (pneumonia due to Q fever) is associated with exposure to cattle.

Clinical presentation

The presentation of atypical pneumonia is often similar to the most typical bacterial pneumonia production. However, some clinical characteristics are more characteristic of atypical pneumonia 2:

  • More pronounced constitutional symptoms such as headache and myalgia.
  • A low fever
  • Persistent dry cough
  • A mixture of symptoms and signs of the upper and lower respiratory tract.

Despite these characteristic features, there is often considerable overlap between the clinical features of typical bacterial pneumonia and atypical pneumonia.


Mycoplasma pneumonia is a kind of atypical pneumonia. This occurs because of the bacterium M. pneumoniae. It usually affects patients under 40 years of age.

Pneumonia due to bacteria related to chlamydia occurs during all seasons of the year and accounts for 5 to 15% of cases of pneumonia. It is mild in general.

Pneumonia due to Legionella occurs more often in young adults and older adults, smokers, those with chronic diseases, and those with a weakened immune system. This can be more serious.


Pneumonia due to mycoplasma and chlamydophila bacteria is usually mild. Pneumonia due to Legionella pneumonia flares its symptoms during the first five days and then improves from 4 to 5 days. Even if the symptoms improve, it may take a while to disappear completely.

Among some of the common symptoms we have:

  • Cold.
  • Cough (with Legionella pneumonia, you can cough until you have bloody mucus).
  • Fever can be mild or intense.
  • Shortness of breath (only occurs when shaking).

Among other symptoms, we have:

  • Pain at the chest level usually worsens when you breathe or cough deeply.
  • Confusion, especially in the elderly or with Legionella pneumonia.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite, low energy, and fatigue.
  • Muscle aches and joint stiffness.
  • Sweating and wet skin.

Less common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea (especially with Legionella pneumonia).
  • Earache (with mycoplasma pneumonia).
  • Pain or pain in the eyes (with mycoplasma pneumonia).
  • Neck pain (with mycoplasma pneumonia)
  • Skin rashes (with mycoplasma pneumonia).
  • Sore throat (with mycoplasma pneumonia)


Follow these steps at home:

  • Control your fever with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or acetaminophen. DO NOT administer aspirin to children.
  • Do not take cough medicine without first talking to your doctor. Cough medicines can make it harder for your body to expel the pulmonary sputum.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen secretions and get rid of phlegm.
  • Rest a lot. Ask someone to do household chores.
  • Antibiotics are used to treat atypical pneumonia.
  • You may be able to take antibiotics orally at home.

If you have severe atypical pneumonia, you are likely to be admitted to a hospital, where you will be given antibiotics through a vein (intravenously) and oxygen. Antibiotics are used for two weeks or more.