Clinton’s Non-Contagious Bacterial Pneumonia Inflames Theories About Parkinson’s Disease

Hillary Clinton’s doctor signed a statement on the presidential candidate’s health after her dramatic medical event during her appearance at the 9/11 memorial event that she attended, the Inquisitr reported earlier. The note from Clinton’s doctor stated, “She was treated with antibiotics for pneumonia and advised to rest. This was a mild non-contagious bacterial pneumonia.”

Now, Clinton critics, including Dr. Milton Wolf, are questioning Hillary Clinton’s “non-contagious bacterial pneumonia diagnosis.”

To be fair, the phrase “non-contagious bacterial pneumonia” was seemingly written as an explanation, and not as a formal diagnosis. There is pneumonia caused by bacteria that could be called “non-contagious.” For example, aspiration pneumonia often leads to bacterial pneumonia that wouldn’t be considered contagious.

The New York Times has a very thorough explanation of the various types of pneumonia. The article explains how aspiration pneumonia is associated with anaerobic bacteria that is normally completely harmless.

“The mouth contains a mixture of bacteria that is normally harmless. However, if this mixture reaches the lungs, it can cause a serious condition called aspiration pneumonia. This may happen after a head injury or general anesthesia, or when a patient takes drugs or alcohol. In such cases, the gag reflex doesn’t work as well as it should, so bacteria can enter the airways. Unlike other organisms that are inhaled, bacteria that cause aspiration pneumonia do not need oxygen to live. These bacteria are called anaerobic bacteria.”

An article found in Clinical Infectious Diseases examines 193 cases of infections involving anaerobic bacteria. The most common syndromes were aspiration pneumonia, lung abscess, and empyema. It stated that Clindamycin is widely considered to be the antibiotic of choice in this pneumonia situation. Clinton was prescribed 10-days of Levaquin. Just because the antibiotic is listed as providing only moderate activity against anaerobic bacteria does not mean the bacteria that was plaguing Clinton at the 9/11 memorial was not of the anaerobic type commonly found in aspiration pneumonia. Her doctor did not specify the official diagnosis or the type of bacteria present in Clinton’s infection.

The paperwork that was meant to sooth the public’s concern over Hillary’s health ended up leading to greater public speculation, according to social media accounts and media reports including one from The Daily Mail.


Healthline states, “Aspiration pneumonia is more likely to occur if something is preventing your normal gag reflex.” It includes Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and even brain injury as possible causes for the development of non-contagious aspiration pneumonia. Theories about Clinton’s health have already focused on Parkinson’s disease, though she and her doctor do not support this speculation. Never-the-less, Clinton’s doctor’s note to the public has refueled the discussions of Parkinson’s disease.

The National Parkinson Foundation says that aspiration pneumonia is a leading cause of death among Parkinson’s sufferers, but Clinton’s doctor did not state that she has Parkinson’s disease symptoms at all. The doctor’s summary said that Clinton’s allergies were causing sinus and respiratory problems for her this year. When a CT scan was done of Clinton’s brain, no abnormalities of the brain were found, Clinton’s doctor wrote. On the other hand, according to Medical News Today, “most MRI or CT scans of people with Parkinson’s disease will appear normal.”

Regardless of the speculation, Parkinson’s disease is a difficult disease to diagnose, so it’s unclear how Clinton’s critics, doctors included, are able to support these theories without having examined the former-FLOTUS in person. What do you think? Is there more to Hillary Clinton’s non-contagious pneumonia than meets the eye?

[Featured image by Gage Skidmore | Flickr]