Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pediatric Pneumonia in Haiti

I admitted three little girls from the clinic this morning to the hospital with pneumonia. The little girl pictured in this post appears to have pneumonia caused by tuberculosis. There are multiple causes of pneumonia including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

More than 150 million episodes of childhood pneumonia occur every year in the developing world, accounting for greater than 95% of all new cases worldwide. More than two million children less than five years old die each year in places like Haiti. Pneumonia kills more children than any other illness.

Less than 20% of children worldwide receive antibiotics and only about one half of all children with pneumonia receive appropriate medical care.

Key preventative measures include adequately immunizing the child with Hib (Hemophilus) and pneumococcal vaccines. Haiti provides neither vaccine to its poor population. Adequate nutrition containing zince and encouraging the mother to breast feed help prevent pneumonia. In symptomatic HIV infection, daily administration of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole reduces death from pneumonia caused by Pneumocystis.

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