Pneumocystis jirovecii

Pneumocystis jirovecii is a fungus of the genus Pneumocystis. It is classified under Ascomycota, commonly known as sac fungi.

Pneumocystis jirovecii is the causative agent of Pneumocystis pneumonia and occurs almost exclusively among people with a weakened immune system, in particular among individuals infected with HIV. Pneumocystis pneumonia is often the first manifestation of AIDS.

Symptoms include:

  • Interstitial pneumonia (lung disease affecting the interstitial tissue)

  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)

Pneumocystis jirovecii is ubiquitous in the environment. Immunocompetent individuals often experience an asymptomatic initial infection during their first years of life.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Not relevant

  • Pulmonology: High

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant

  • Urology: Not relevant

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • Low or moderate concern organism

Transmission route

Pneumocystis jirovecii can be transmitted endogenously, through contact infections, or through the air via infected droplets.

Resistance to antibiotics

No specific resistances are not known so far.

Sources and further readings

  1. Fungal Diseases: Pneumocystis pneumonia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accessed on 07.06.2021.

  2. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2019.

  3. Hitzenbichler A et al. Pneumocystis-jirovecii-Pneumonie – eine opportunistische Infektion im Wandel, Der Internist 7/2019.

  4. Hanson PJ et al. Contamination of endoscopes used in AIDS patients. Lancet. 1989 Jul 8;2(8654):86–8.