Condition 101 About Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia

What is the definition of Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

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

What are the alternative names for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

Pneumocystis pneumonia; Pneumocystosis; PCP; Pneumocystis carinii; PJP pneumonia

What are the causes for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

This type of pneumonia is caused by the fungus Pneumocystis jiroveci. This fungus is common in the environment and rarely causes illness in healthy people.

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

  • Cancer
  • Long-term use of corticosteroids or other medicines that weaken the immune system
  • Organ or bone marrow transplant

Pneumocystis jiroveci was a rare infection before the AIDS epidemic. Before the use of preventive antibiotics for the condition, most people in the United States with advanced AIDS often developed this infection.

What are the symptoms for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

Pneumocystis pneumonia in people with AIDS usually develops slowly over days to weeks or even months, and is less severe. People with pneumocystis pneumonia who do not have AIDS usually get sick faster and are more severely ill.

Symptoms include:

  • Cough, often mild and dry
  • Fever
  • Rapid breathing
  • Shortness of breath, especially with activity (exertion)

What are the current treatments for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

Anti-infection medicines can be given by mouth (orally) or through a vein (intravenously), depending on how severe the illness is.

People with low oxygen levels and moderate to severe disease are often prescribed corticosteroids as well.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

Pneumocystis pneumonia can be life threatening. It can cause respiratory failure that can lead to death. People with this condition need early and effective treatment. For moderate to severe pneumocystis pneumonia in people with HIV/AIDS, the short term use of corticosteroids has decreased the incidence of death.

What are the possible complications for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

Complications that may result include:

  • Pleural effusion (extremely rare)
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung)
  • Respiratory failure (may require breathing support)

When should I contact a medical professional for Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

If you have a weakened immune system due to AIDS, cancer, transplantation, or corticosteroid use, call your provider if you develop a cough, fever, or shortness of breath.

How do I prevent Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia?

Preventive therapy is recommended for:

  • People with HIV/AIDS who have CD4 counts below 200 cells/microliter or 200 cells/cubic millimeter
  • Bone marrow transplant recipients
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • People who take long-term, high-dose corticosteroids
  • People who have had previous episodes of this infection
  • People who take long-term immunomodulatory drugs


Kovacs JA. Pneumocystis pneumonia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 321.

Miller RF Walzer PD, Smulian AG. Pneumocystis species. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 269.

Top Global Doctors For Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia

Latest Advances On Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia

  • Condition: Acute Myeloid Leukemia with Refractory Massive Ascites
  • Journal: [Rinsho ketsueki] The Japanese journal of clinical hematology
  • Treatment Used: Cord Blood Transplantation
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with acute myeloid leukemia that experienced refractory massive ascites.
  • Condition: Pneumocystis Pneumonia with Follicular Lymphoma
  • Journal: [Rinsho ketsueki] The Japanese journal of clinical hematology
  • Treatment Used: Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole Therapy after Chemotherapy
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient that experienced pneumocystis pneumonia after trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole therapy during their chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma.

Clinical Trials For Pneumocystis Jiroveci Pneumonia

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Active, not recruiting
  • Participants: 576
  • Start Date: May 4, 2020
Characterization of Fungal Infections in COVID-19 Infected and Mechanically Ventilated Patients in ICU
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Intervention Type: Diagnostic Test
  • Participants: 250
  • Start Date: August 30, 2019
Diagnosis of Lung Complication After Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation by Multiple Parameter System Through Bronchoscopic Alveolar Lavage