Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Edward Aschoff's cause of death, which has yet to be officially determined.
ESPN college football reporter Edward Aschofftweeted about battling multifocal pneumonia before his deathTuesday, his 34th birthday, drawing widespread attention to the disease.
On Thursday,Katy Berteau, Aschoff's fiance, revealed that battlepreceded a later presumed diagnosis.
"Edward was admitted to the hospital a week after our first visit to the ER, where he was diagnosed with multifocal pneumonia,"Berteau tweeted fromAschoff's Twitter account.
"After failed antibiotic treatment, with worsening of symptoms, we took him back to the ER and he was immediately admitted.
"After many tests - bone marrow and lung biopsies - treatment was started for a presumed diagnosis of HLH, an unregulated, over-activation of the immune system that causes it to attack itself and other healthy tissues,"Berteau tweeted.
"Within 3 days of being moved into the ICU, he passed."
Aschoff first tweeted about his condition on Dec. 5 asking his followers, Anyone ever had multifocal (bilateral) pneumonia in their early 30s as some who never gets sick and has a very good immune system?
He then replied to another tweet the same day, detailing the symptoms he had been dealing with for weeks: So I had a virus for two weeks. Fever and cough and the doctors think it turns into this multifocal pneumonia recently. Im on day 4 of antibiotics. Days are getting better but nights are basically fever and coughing and sweating.
Here's more information about the illnessAschoff tweeted about before his death:
Dr. Marc Sala, assistant professor of medicine inpulmonary critical care at Northwestern University says pneumonia is an infection of the lungs' air sacs, or tissue."Multifocal" pneumonia means that the infectionis not just affecting one partof the lung but multiple sections.
"Bilateral" means that the infection is present in both lungs.
Sala says that the more tissue infected, the more severe the pneumonia.
Pneumonia is contagious. But Sala says not much is known in the medical community about how peopleget pneumonia.
"What makes one person develop pneumonia versus another is still a developing science because it has a lot to do with the individual person," he says.
Certain characteristics such as genetic factors, a patient's immune system, medical history and age can determine whether a person is infected.
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The common cold is one of the most well-known and established risk factors of developing pneumonia,Sala says.
"Other viruses(such as the flu) can predispose you to a compromised immune system of the lungs," he says.
Although pneumonia isn't predictable, Sala says, the best way to mitigate other viruses that could develop into pneumonia is to practice good hand hygiene, avoid people who may be sick and get the flu shot every year.
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According to the Mayo Clinic, pneumonia symptoms can vary from mild to severe depending on the cause of infection, age and the patient's overall health.
Milder symptoms look similar to a cold or flu and can include chest pain when breathing or coughing, fatigue, fever accompanied by sweating and shaking chills, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea and shortness of breath.
Sala says that the only way to confirm a diagnosis of pneumonia is to visit a doctor to get an x-ray and physical exam.
"If symptoms arent improving with just conservative measures at home ... in the time course of several days and youre getting worse that should prompt an evaluation."
Contributing: Ellen J. Horrow, USA TODAY.
Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
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