Vietnam faces pneumonia threat hinh anh 1Truong Huu Khanh, head of the infection and neurology department at Paediatrics Hospital No.1 in HCM City, speaks at a meeting on November 11 to mark World Pneumonia Day (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam is among the 15 countries with the highest estimated number of clinical pneumonia, with 2.9 million cases reported every year, doctors said.

Pneumonia is the number one killer among the leading infectious diseases, with 920,000 deaths globally or 16 percent of all deaths in the five last years, said Truong Huu Khanh, head of the Infection and Neurology Department at Ho Chi Minh City’s Peadiatrics Hospital No. 1.

Pneumonia is a respiratory infection which is common in children under two and people aged over 65, he told a meeting held on November 11 to mark World Pneumonia Day (November 12).

It can be caused by many different pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

Pneumococcus (Streptococcus pneumoniae) is the leading bacterial cause in infants.

“Pneumococcus is a bacteria that normally stay in adults and children’s throat. It mostly spreads through air (coughing, sneezing), and through contact with sick people or healthy people carrying the bacteria,” Khanh said.

“Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus bacteria is extremely dangerous, with mortality rates of 10-20 percent in young children.”

Breastfeeding in the first months and immunization are active ways to prevent pneumonia, said Nguyen Tran Hien, Chairman of the Vietnam Association of Preventive Medicine.

According to doctors, pneumococcus is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, causing difficulties in treatment and creating pressure on the health sector and entire society.

World Pneumonia Day, November 12, was instituted in 2009 to raise awareness about the toll taken by pneumonia and advocate for global action to protect against, prevent and treat this deadly disease.-VNA