Community-acquired pneumonia is the presence of signs and symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection acquired outside of the hospital.
The most common bacterial cause of childhood pneumonia is Streptococcus pneumoniae. It usually causes about 1/3 of radiographically-confirmed pneumonia in children <2 years of age.
Viruses commonly affects children <1 year of age than those aged > 2 years, respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV) being the most frequently detected virus.
Mixed infection may occur in 8-40% of community-acquired pneumonia cases.


  • Children should be given vaccines against bacterial pathogens including S pneumoniae, H influenzae type b, & Bordetella pertussis
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine & combination vaccine against pertussis may be given as early as 6 weeks old & influenza vaccine at 6 months of age as part of the recommended routine immunization schedule
  • Parents & caretakers of infants <6 months of age should be vaccinated against influenza virus & pertussis to protect the infants from exposure to these pathogens
Influenza vaccine
  • Children ≥6 months of age should be given influenza virus vaccine yearly
  • Two doses separated by a 4-week interval should be administered to children 6 months to 8 years receiving influenza vaccine for the 1st time, then 1 dose yearly after initial dose
Pertussis vaccine
  • Given as part of the combination vaccine DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) of the recommended routine immunization schedule & w/ the booster dose Tdap or Td annually for children w/ complete immunization
Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Introduction of pneumococcal vaccine greatly reduced the incidence of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children caused by S pneumoniae
  • Recommended as a 3-dose series given at 4-week intervals w/ booster dose given at 12-15 months of age for primary immunization
  • Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)-specific monoclonal antibody (eg Palivizumab) may be considered as prophylaxis during RSV season in premature infants & in those w/ comorbid diseases (eg underlying lung pathology, congenital abnormalities of the airways, hemodynamically significant congenital heart disease, neuromuscular diseases)
Other Preventive Measures
  • Frequent handwashing, breastfeeding, limiting exposure to other children, & reducing exposure to smoking are important measures that should be done

Follow Up

  • Predictors of treatment response are decrease in respiratory signs & defervescence w/in 48-72 hours of antimicrobial therapy
  • Switch to oral therapy may be considered once there is improvement in fever, cough, tachypnea, supplemental oxygen dependency, & increased activity & appetite, concurrent w/ decrease in white blood cell (WBC) counts &/or C-reactive protein (CRP) levels

Specialist Referral

  • Consultation w/ a pediatric pulmonologist or infectious diseases specialist is considered if the patient has allergies, other coexisting illnesses or presence of complications (eg effusion)
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