NZ Herald: Experts – Pneumonia threat putting our youngsters’ health at risk

Pediatric experts write about pneumonia, the danger it poses to New Zealand’s children, and how to reduce its incidence.

Pneumonia, the largest single worldwide killer of children, is apparently a major problem in New Zealand – while deaths are rare, cases in hospitals are five times higher than in developed countries such as the United States.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Pneumonia can have serious consequences, including further infections, further admissions over the next years, or the development of irreversible lung scarring (bronchiectasis). New Zealand children are 18 times more likely to develop bronchiectasis than children in Britain, with even higher risks in Maori and Pacific children.

“The type and frequency of the lung scarring seen here is only found in other severely disadvantaged communities such as Australian Aboriginal, Native American and Native Alaskan communities.

“As well as the social, emotional and economic implications for families, there are economic implications for health services.

“It has been calculated that childhood pneumonia has direct medical costs of over $7 million per year for New Zealand. The indirect costs are even higher.”