UNITED NATIONS, Nov 13 (APP)::Pneumonia claimed the lives of more than 800,000 children under the age of five worldwide in 2018, or one child every 39 seconds, according to the UN’s children agency.
“Every day, nearly 2,200 children under the age of five die from pneumonia, a curable and mostly preventable disease. Strong global commitment and increased investments are critical to the fight against this disease,” Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, said in a report released on Monday.
Pneumonia is caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, and leaves children fighting for breath as their lungs fill with pus and fluid, according to UNICEF.
It can be prevented with vaccines and treated with antibiotics and – in severe cases – with oxygen, bu but in poorer countries, access to these is often limited.
“Just five countries were responsible for more than half of child pneumonia deaths: Nigeria (162,000), India (127,000), Pakistan (58,000), the Democratic Republic of Congo (40,000) and Ethiopia (32,000),” the report said.
Most of the children’s deaths took place under the age of two, while about 153,000 of the children died during their first month, it said.
“The disease can be prevented with vaccines, and easily treated with low-cost antibiotics if properly diagnosed,” the report added.
Although immunization and widespread use of antibiotics have led to a fall in mortality related to infectious diseases, pneumonia is still costs time and resources across the globe.
Influenza viruses could also lead to pneumonia, and may turn other viruses into pneumonia by damaging the respiratory tract, experts say.
Chill, shivering, coughing and high fever were among pneumonia’s symptoms, while the advanced form of the disease could manifest in bluish-purple skin and mucous, shortness of breath, hypotension and the clouding of consciousness.