clinical features

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There is often a history of preceding viral infection. Clinical features include:

  • more common in winter months and upper respiratory tract viral infections are a predisposing factor
  • commonest cause of pneumonia in patients with chronic obstructive airways disease
  • sudden onset
  • marked fever and rigors; febrile convulsions in preschool children
  • pleuritic chest pain
  • cough - initially dry but replaced by a productive cough with rusty-coloured sputum after 24 - 48 hours (1)
  • breathing - rapid and shallow; diminished movement on the affected side
  • may be signs of consolidation and a friction rub
  • vesicles of Herpes simplex may occur around the mouth (1)


  • Harold SR et al (1994). Management of community acquired lower respiratory tract infection. BMJ, 308, 701-5.

Last reviewed 01/2018