is simply a milder case of pneumonia. With this condition, a person does not appear as sick as a person with regular pneumonia, and they are still able to "walk around." They may feel sick; however, their symptoms are not as severe.
Walking pneumonia can be caused by a number of different types of bacteria and viruses. The most common cause is an infection with Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria.
Is Walking Pneumonia Contagious?
Walking pneumonia caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae occurs most frequently during the fall and winter, but may develop year-round. It is common, accounting for about 20 percent of pneumonia cases in middle and high school students, and up to 50 percent of cases in college students and military recruits.
These bacteria are contagious, but generally only cause upper respiratory symptoms, such as a cough, runny nose, or sore throat
. Studies show that no more than 1 in 10 cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae
infection actually result in pneumonia.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae are usually found in the mouth and nose of the infected person. They are most often spread through the air, for example, from a person coughing or sneezing.
How Long Is the Incubation Period?
It usually takes about two to three weeks after a person is infected before symptoms start to appear. The symptoms show up more gradually compared to regular pneumonia, so a person may not be able to pinpoint exactly when they started feeling sick.