Pneumonia due to Pneumocystis carinii is the most common life-threatening infection in patients with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). It occurs at least once in some 60 percent of patients, and approximately one third of the pneumonic episodes are fetal. Despite an increasing awareness of other opportunistic infections in the syndrome, the proportion of patients who have had P carinii pneumonia by the time they are reported to the Centers for Disease Control has remained remarkably constant. As the incidence of AIDS is rising—notification rates are currently averaging 100 cases per week in the United States and ten per week in Europe—it is inevitable that an increasing number of chest physicians will be involved in the care of these patients.

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