NAGPUR: More incidences of a disease generally equip doctors to manage it better. However, it is the opposite in case of pneumonia, especially the one acquired at the hospitals. Doctors blame indiscriminate use of antibiotics, which has made the pathogens causing this disease more resistant, for making this condition a potentially fatal one.
These were among the many topics discussed during a symposium and clinical meeting of Academy of Medical Scienceson pneumonia held ahead of the World Pneumonia Day that falls on November 9. While Dr PP Joshi and Dr Amol Sagdeo presented some interesting cases, Dr Ravindra Sarnaik, Dr Sanjeev Mehta, Dr Shrinivas Samavedam,Dr Yagnesh Thakkar and Dr Nainesh Patel spoke about the various aspects of managing the disease.
President of AMS Dr Rajan Barokar said other than the known viral originated pneumonia, bacterial and fungal pneumonia is increasingly being reported. "Managing pneumonia and its higher form - acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) - is a challenge for the critical care team," he said. Agreeing with this, Dr Chandrashekhar Cham, secretary of AMS, added that secondary infections of this kind acquired at hospitals are emerging as big killers in ICUs. Dr Sarnaik said with many ailments coexisting, the treatment gets more complicated and longer.
Dr Samavedam informed that 40 per cent patients visiting OPD have respiratory infections while 15 per cent have pneumonia. "A lot of cases do not even get reported as they occur at places where medical services may not be well developed," he said. He warned that parents must be cautious when children have fever that persists for more than two days or is acquired after returning from a holiday or after consuming outside food.
Dr Mehta gave the example of France where government rewards the doctors who give least number of antibiotics and make the patients aware about their misuse. "The pathogens that cause hospital acquired infections are immune to many of the common antibiotics. This has given rise to stronger microbes that are lurking around the hospital. Instead of trying different medications, doctors must send the cultures for laboratory tests to decide the course of drugs," said Dr Thakkar.
Dr Patel spoke of a newly emerging form of pneumonia that has resulted from high resistance among the pathogens called health care associated infections. "This means that the disease, even if acquired outside the hospital or in the community, becomes difficult to treat due to resistance from the organisms causing them," he explained.
Dr SK Deshpande blamed lack of hygiene and overcrowded living spaces for this phenomenon. "Urban slums and a general apathy towards cleanliness have made this situation so bad," he said.