Pneumonia historical perspective

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Hamid Qazi, MD, BSc [2], Serge Korjian M.D., Priyamvada Singh, M.D. [3]


The pneumonia syndrome has been recognized since ancient times. It was initially described by Hippocrates who recorded his observations of its symptoms and complications. Edwin Klebs was the first to identify bacteria in the lungs of patients who died from pneumonia in 1875. This discovery was soon-after substantiated by the works of Carl Friedländer and Albert Fränkel who were the first to identify Streptococcus pneumoniae as a causative agent. The introduction of the gram stain subsequently led to the discovery of other causative organisms. Despite being an important cause of mortality before the late twentieth century, the advent of antibiotics, modern surgical techniques, and vaccination drastically lowered the morbidity and mortality of pneumonia with the turn of the century.

Historical Perspective


  • Pneumonia was first discovered by Hippocrates.
  • In 1817, Dr. Simpson of United Kingdom was the first to report a case of pneumonia treated with blood letting.[1]
  • In 1842, Dr. Edward Newfold of United Kingdom was the first to report a case of typhoid pneumonia.[2]
  • In 1875, Dr. Edwin Klebs was the first to discover the association between bacteria and the development of pneumonia.

Landmark Events in the Development of Treatment Strategies


  1. "Case ofPneumonia, Where the Extent to Which Blood-Letting May Be Successfully Carried Is Fully Exemplified". Med Chir J Rev. 4 (24): 460–463. 1817. PMC 5570882. PMID 29257545.
  2. Newbold E (1842). "Case of Typhoid Pneumonia". Prov Med J Retrosp Med Sci. 4 (84): 87. PMC 2489819. PMID 21373079.
  3. Harris AB (1909). "Observations on the Therapeutic Value of the Pneumococcus Vaccine in the Treatment of Pneumonia and some of its Complications". Br Med J. 1 (2530): 1530–5. PMC 2320626. PMID 20764553.

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