Chronic Pneumonia at 40x Magnification
The likelihood that an individual will contract pneumonia depends upon many different factors, as does the severity of the disease when it does occur. Risk of the disease is particularly elevated for the elderly and for very young children whose immune systems are still in an immature state. Similarly, anyone who has a compromised immune system due to other diseases, such as HIV or AIDS, or to certain medications are also more likely to develop pneumonia. Other factors associated with increased risk include smoking, drinking, drug abuse, and exposure to various toxic fumes or chemicals. Inhabitants of certain locales also experience an increased risk of contracting pneumonia from agents that are endemic in those areas. For instance, a serious form of lung infection caused by a fungus common in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys is most likely to affect individuals living in either of those regions.