Viral Pneumonia

More and more viruses are being identified as the cause of respiratory infection:

  • Half of all pneumonias are believed to be of viral origin
  • Most viruses attack the upper respiratory tract but some produce pneumonia, especially in children
  • Most viral pneumonias are patchy and self-limiting


Primary influenza virus pneumonia is severe and may be fatal:

  • The virus invades the lungs and multiplies
  • There are almost no physical signs of lung tissue becoming filled with fluid
  • Pregnant women or people with pre-existing heart or pulmonary illness are most susceptible


The initial symptoms of virus pneumonia are those of influenza:

  • fever
  • dry cough
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • prostration


The symptoms advance rapidly, within 12 to 36 hours:

  • increasing breathlessness
  • worsening cough producing scant amount of bloody sputum
  • high fever
  • possibly blueness of lips


During the final stage the patient has:

  • unbearable air hunger
  • breathlessness

Other virus pneumonias are complicated by an invasion of bacteria, and all the typical symptoms of a bacterial pneumonia.

Page Last Updated: 24/10/2018