Parents advised to take steps against pneumonia

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Coimbatore, Feb 20 (PTI) With more than four lakh deathsbeing reported per year in the country due to pneumonia, theIndian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) today advised parents totake steps to prevent their offsprings from contracting thedisease, a leading killer of children aged below five.

The parents should take care to prevent pneumonia becauseit was not easy to diagnose the disease, and secondly thebacteria were developing resistance to the antibiotics, DrNandhini Kumaran, President, local chapter of IPA,told reporters here.

Dr S Balasubramanian, senior consultant pediatrician,Kanchi Kamakoti Child Trust Hospital, Chennai, said vaccinesagainst the two of the main causes of pneumonia -- bacteriumsPneumococcus and Haemophilus Influenzae type B -- were widelyused all over the world.

The new version of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine -- usedto protect infants and children against disease caused by thebacterium pneumococcus -- recently launched in India coveredtwo of the strains that were associated with complicatedpneumonia, he said. It also covered a particular strain, whichhas globally emerged as a leading cause of pneumococcaldiseases like pneumonia in children below five, he added.

In India, the under-five mortality was 69 per 1,000 livebirths and 410,000 children die annually from pneumonia alone,Dr Balasubramanian said.

Symptoms of pneumonia include high fever, rapid ordifficult breathing, fever, chills, headaches and loss ofappetite and children under five with severe cases ofpneumonia may struggle to breathe, with their chests moving inor retracting during inhalation. Infants may sufferconvulsions, unconsciousness, lethargy and feeding problems,Dr Nandini said.

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