Pneumonia Outpaces COVID-19 and Influenza Fatalities
As World Pneumonia Day approaches on November 12th, the ongoing effort to reduce fatalities from infectious diseases has never been more urgent.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that needlessly affects millions worldwide each year. Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the U.S. are adults.
Previous U.S. CDC data indicates 47,000 people died from pneumonia in the U.S. in 2020.
And that negative trend continues today.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Mortality Surveillance data available on October 27, 2022, 9.2% of infectious disease fatalities that occurred during week #42 were due to pneumonia, influenza, and/or COVID-19 (PIC).
Among the 2,128 PIC deaths reported last week, 1,164 listed pneumonia as an underlying or contributing cause of death on the death certificate, 949 had COVID-19, and 15 listed influenza.
This NCHS data indicates that current PIC mortality is primarily due to pneumonia, not COVID-19 or influenza.
While viruses, bacteria, and fungi can cause pneumonia, there are better-known diseases related to pneumonia.
Common causes of viral pneumonia are Influenza, Respiratory syncytial virus, and SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
In the U.S., there are U.S. FDA-approved vaccines that can help prevent infection by some of the bacteria and viruses that can cause pneumonia, such as:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b
According to a recent U.S.CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting, pneumococcal vaccine schedules are changing.
On October 19, 2022, Katherine A. Poehling, MD, MPH, led the ACIP review of pneumococcal vaccine considerations. And Miwako Kobayashi, MD, MPH, proposed updates to Clinical Guidance on Pneumococcal Vaccine Use among Adults.
Moreover, these ACIP insights are being tested as the 2022-2023 flu season begins to impact senior citizens.
The CDC stated on October 29, 2022, early increases in seasonal influenza activity have been identified in the southeast and south-central areas of the country.
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Note: The CDC data presented are preliminary and may change as more data are received and processed.