Chlamydia Pneumonia Infections in Children – Role, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention

Children are vulnerable to pneumonia infection caused by wide range of infectious agents. Bacteria are the most common infectious agent and one such bacterium that causes pneumonia in children is Chlamydia Pneumoniae.

Role of Chlamydial organisms in Pneumonia

Chlamydial organisms are gram-negative and obligate intracellular organisms. There are basically three species of chlamydial organisms that cause pneumonia in humans.

                    Chlamydophila pneumonia is responsible for causing bronchitis or mild pneumonia in children and young adults. When they infect older adults, they cause more severe form of pneumonia.

                    Chlamydophila psittaci is transmitted by the birds and patient gets ornithosis on exposure to infected birds. The symptoms of the C psittaci infection vary from fulminant toxic syndrome to asymptomatic infection. Patients infected with ornithosis usually have developed pneumonia or pyrexia of unknown origin.

                    Chlamydia trachomatis is known for causing STD (sexually transmitted disease) in human beings including pelvic inflammatory disease, trachoma and cervicitis. However, C trachomatis is also responsible for causing pneumonia in infants, young children, and immunocompromised adults.

How Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infections are transmitted?

The modes of transmission of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infections are similar to the ways, other respiratory diseases are transmitted.

                    Transmitted directly from person to person via coughing or sneezing

                    Transmitted indirectly from germs on hands or other objects

                    School going Children between 5 and 15 years of age are more susceptible to get infection

Symptoms of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection

The symptoms of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection develop gradually over a period of time. An infected patient may experience sore throat in the beginning which later develops into cough.

Common Symptoms of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection

                    Prolonged cough that may last for 2 to 6 weeks

                    Bronchitis

                    Pneumonia

                    Sore throat

                    Laryngitis

                    Ear infections

                    Sinusitis

The symptoms usually range from mild symptoms to no symptoms in some infected children. There are chances that symptoms may develop into bronchitis or a mild case of pneumonia.

Diagnosis of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection

The doctor will ask various questions to the patient to study signs and symptoms of Pneumonia. He/she may suggest various diagnostic tests for detecting the Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection in patients.

Physical Exam

The doctor will use the stethoscope for performing the physical exam of the lungs.

The individuals infected with pneumonia will produce crackling, wheezing and rumbling sounds in the lungs during inhalation. The absence of regular sounds in cheat areas may point to the infection caused by pneumonia.

Laboratory Tests

After the physical examination, the doctor may ask the patient to conduct certain laboratory tests. These are done for confirming the presence of pneumonia infection.

                    Blood tests for detecting presence of antibodies to the bacteria. It takes at least a week before such antibodies show up in the blood.

                    Swab specimens are taken either from nose or throat for evaluation

Treatment of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection

The treatment of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection takes time and patient may takes weeks for complete recovery.

Treatment therapy for Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection involves the following.

                    Intravenous antibiotics like erythromycin or tetracycline for severe cases.

                    Patients with uncomplicated pneumonia require only 2 or 3 days of intravenous antibiotics. They are shifted to oral therapy afterwards

                    Patient is asked to drink plenty of fluids including juices, water, tea, lemonade, etc.

                    Oxygen is usually used in hospitalised patient with breathing problems

                    Use of humidified air helps in loosening the mucus

                    Patient may take aspirin, NSAIDs, for controlling fever. However, Aspirin should not be given to children.

                    Patient is advised to take plenty of rest.

                    Chest therapy is used for loosening the mucus so that it can be expelled out by deep coughing.

Prevention of Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection

The Chlamydia Pneumoniae Infection in children can be prevented by maintaining cleanliness and infection free environment.

                    Practicing good hygiene

                    Frequent hand washing

                    Avoiding contact with infected people