On November 12, 2014, the world celebrated Global Pneumonia Day with special focus on child pneumonia. Pneumonia is a common illness that currently affects 450 million people a year, especially children from lower income African nations. Other high risk nations include China, India and Pakistan. Advanced nations like European nations and USA have less than 100 persons per 100,000 suffering from pneumonia.
Pneumonia is an acute inflammatory condition of lungs caused due to infection by viruses and bacteria. Sometimes it may be triggered by side effects of drugs and sometimes as part of an abnormal response of the immune system of the body to its own.
Types of Pneumonia
Pneumonia may be of various types based on causes and places of occurrence. Based on type of transmission it may be:
- Hospital acquired: Acquired during the course of a stay in the hospital for another disease.
- Community acquired: Acquired through social contact.
Based on cause, pneumonia may be of the following types:
- Bronchiolitis Obliterans Organizing Pneumonia (BOOP) which is caused by the inflammation of the lungs.
- Eosinophilic Pneumonia which is caused by the attack of the lungs by a kind of white blood cells.
- Chemical Pneumonia caused by chemical toxins and pesticides.
- Aspiration Pneumonia caused by aspirating materials.
- Dust Pneumonia caused by dust allergies.
- Opportunistic Pneumonia which occurs in people with weak immunity like HIV/AIDS patients.
- Necrotizing Pneumonia caused by necrosis of the lung cells.
- Double Pneumonia where both lungs are affected.
- Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which is caused by a SARS virus, a special kind of pathogen.
Finally based on the areas affected, pneumonia may be divided into:
- Lobal or affecting a single lobe.
- Multi-lobal or affecting both the lobes.
- And bronchial or affecting the bronchi.
Here is a case study of patient suffering from a community acquired lobal pneumonia. On April 13, a six-year-old male child was admitted to an MSF (or doctors without borders, an international medical humanitarian organization) hospital in Congo, a central African country.
The patient is a six-year-old male child suffering from a severe case of lobar pneumonia. The patient is severely malnourished weighing less than 40 lbs. Investigation revealed that the patient concerned has had frequent bouts of respiratory problems since birth. However, he has never been hospitalized since his village has no public hospital. Thus, most probably, the victim has been infected by other diseased community members of his tribe.
Preliminary investigations revealed the following symptoms:
- Continuous coughing with occasional sputum.
- Chest pain
- Fever and high temperature
- Shortness of breath and low respiratory rate.
Clinical suspicion revealed that the lungs have been infected by Streptococcus pneumonia, a human pathogenic bacterium, which is responsible for the primary symptoms. Clinical culture of the sputum confirmed the suspicion. The secondary symptoms (recurrent fever, weakness etc.) are being caused by the immunity deficiency of child who is severely malnourished.
The patient has been given oral antibiotics with plenty of fluid and rest. The patient was discharged after seventy two hours of observation.
The patient has been advised to follow the course of oral anti-biotic for a week followed by a further check up. Till then, exposure to cold, smoke and dust should be avoided.
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