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Pulmonologists see antimicrobial resistance as challenge in management of pneumonia

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, November 12, 2021, 12:15 Hrs  [IST]

Pulmonologists see the antimicrobial resistance as a challenge in the management of pneumonia which has propelled the need for more clinical trials to be able to access new drugs to treat the viruses, bacteria, fungi and mycobacterium causing this critical respiratory infection.

 Pneumonia also continues to be the leading cause of mortality in children worldwide, with India accounting for 20% of the fatalities. At present, India has the largest population of children of 14 years globally.
The overall cases of pneumonia has gone up due to Covid-19 virus being responsible as the causative organism for most of the cases.
World Pneumonia day observed annually on November 12 with the theme Stop Pneumonia: Every breath counts, pulmonologists see the need for new drug combinations.

The inadvertent use and abuse of antibiotics has  triggered a lot of research and there are many clinical trials going on to identify newer drugs to overcome drug resistance. There are many new antibiotics in pipeline which once approved for usage will enhance our capabilities to deal with drug resistant bugs, said Dr Sandeepa HS, Pulmonologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital.
Being an infection of the lung, pneumonia treatment depends on the source. For instance, viral pneumonias do not have any effective treatment. Majority of them are self-limiting and require only supportive care depending upon the severity. In contrast, bacterial and fungal pneumonias are treated with antibiotics which when administered at the right time and right dose can be lifesaving. There are many class of antibiotics which are effective against a wide range of bacteria, he added.
The mycobacterial pneumonias or tuberculosis is treated with first and second line of oral and injectable dedicated TB drugs which are again a class of antibiotics.
With the recent developments in the healthcare in India, we are able to provide better care and treatment for pneumonia on par with the developed countries. But, the facilities and awareness is still lacking across rural areas which lack quality medical services, he added.

 Even as this lung infection is difficult for adults, it also the world's deadliest child killer, claiming one young life every 39 seconds and accounts for 15% of all child fatalities under 5 years old, where 8,08,694 children succumb annually.
Dr. Srinivas Jakka , consultant, pediatrics, pulmonology & allergy, Ankura Hospitals, Telangana, said children with underlying immune problems and various chronic diseases might especially be at higher risk of developing pneumonia. Further indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating with biomass fuels, living in crowded homes and parental smoking are other factors increasing the threat of contracting the disease.
To enable these children to have a healthy and productive life, it is imperative to mitigate the challenge of pneumonia through the implementation of multifaceted preventive measures. Several policies, including improving nutrition and reducing pollution, which could reduce its incidence, added Dr Jakka.
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) remains as a mortality and morbidity globally. However the exact incidence of pneumonia in India is not known. The incidence of CAP is 4 million cases/year with 20% requiring hospitalization. Early recognition and treatment is the key to prevent complications and even death, said Dr Sandeepa. 


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