A study published in The Lancet Regional Health - Europe describes the current epidemiology of pneumocystis pneumonia in Germany and shows that, contrary to the findings of previous studies in the general population over the last two decades, the incidence and deaths attributable to this opportunistic pulmonary infection are now increasing.
The retrospective analysis included all inpatient cases from 2014 to 2019. The researchers used annual census data to calculate the overall and sex-specific incidence of pneumocystis pneumonia. Simultaneously, a retrospective multi-centre study was conducted at two German university hospitals to gain deeper insights into cases.
The results show that the incidence of pneumocystis pneumonia increased from 2.3 to 2.6 per 100,000 people from 2014 to 2019. Pneumocystis-related deaths rose from 516 to 615 cases between the study years, an increase of 19.2 per cent.
The researchers noted that the spectrum of underlying diseases changed: while risk groups such as patients with HIV, haematologic malignancies, and transplantation showed a significant decrease in pneumocystis pneumonia cases, those with solid malignancies and autoimmune and pulmonary diseases showed a significant increase in case numbers and deaths.
These findings indicate that comprehensive guidelines for chemoprophylaxis in new risk groups are needed, the authors concluded.