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Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia

  • Definition

    Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia is a fungal infection of the lungs. The disease used to be called Pneumocystis carinii.

    Alternative Names

    Pneumocystosis; PCP; Pneumocystis carinii

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    This type of pneumonia is caused by the fungus Pneumocystis jiroveci. This fungus is common in the environment and does not cause illness in healthy people.

    However, it can cause a lung infection in people with a weakened immune system due to:

    • Cancer
    • Chronic use of corticosteroids or other medications that weaken the immune system
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Organ or bone marrow transplant

    Pneumocystis jiroveci was a relatively rare infection before the AIDS epidemic. Before the use of preventive antibiotics for the condition, most people in the United States with advanced AIDS would develop it.