Watch out for killer pneumonia, health dept says

2012-05-18 15:27

About 455 Gauteng children were treated for pneumonia in various public hospitals across the province in March, prompting the department of health to step up its pneumonia vaccination campaign.

The campaign aims to reach thousands of children that have not been vaccinated against this potentially deadly respiratory disease.

Although the figure of 455 is down compared with the same period last year, provincial spokesperson Simon Zwane said it remained a cause for concern.

It is estimated by the national department of health that this respiratory illness is responsible for 1% of all deaths of children below the age of five annually.

Said Zwane: “The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of children dying from this disease.

“The incidence of pneumonia in children under the age of five has shown a decrease in Gauteng from 60.2 per 1 000 in 2009 to 57.3 per 1 000 in 2011 but it’s still a high number. We are therefore urging parents and caregivers to take children to their nearest clinics to be vaccinated,” he said.

The vaccination drive will target all children from the age of 18 months to six years.

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