With rest, supportive care and occasional antibiotics, most lung infections should improve in a few weeks. But if your symptoms persist beyond this time frame, you may have a chronic pulmonary infection.


  • Fevers for more than a week
  • Cough for more than three weeks
  • Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in your neck
  • Coughing up blood
  • Feeling like your symptoms return every time you stop antibiotics

Types of Chronic Pulmonary Infections

Spread person to person, tuberculosis, or TB, is a special type of highly contagious bacteria that can cause chronic pneumonia. See your doctor immediately if you suspect you’ve been exposed to TB. Often, those exposed won’t develop pneumonia right away, but we can treat these patients before they have full infections.

Mycobacterium (non-tuberculosis)
You can’t catch these cousins of TB from a cough. They are generally acquired from the soil or water supply. These bacteria can cause a chronic infection that may require treatment. Your doctor can help you decide if that’s necessary.

This fungus lives in the soil and is associated with bird droppings. Cannot be passed person to person. It can cause acute or chronic pneumonia. It’s treatable and often diagnosed by blood or urine tests.

Another fungus that lives in the soil and can’t be caught from another person. Treatable with angifungal agents, it can cause pneumonia and skin sores that look like boils. It’s often diagnosed by blood tests or an examination of the sores on the skin.

Patients with bronchiectasis have scarring in their lungs that can make them susceptible to bronchitis and pneumonia. Often, physicians diagnose bronchiectasis with a CAT scan of the chest.

Learn More

Chronic pulmonary infections are treatable, especially when diagnosed early. Many other chronic infections or diseases may mimic these infections. If you have any questions about your symptoms, ask your doctor or contact us.

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