Prevention of community-acquired pneumonia in children: South African Thoracic Society guidelines (part 4)

H. J. Zar, David P. Moore, S. Andronikou, A. C. Argent, T. Avenant, C. Cohen, Robin J. Green, G. Itzikowitz, P. Jeena, M. P. Nicol, A. Pillay, G. Reubenson, R. Masekela, S. A. Madhi

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background. More comprehensive immunisation regimens, strengthening of HIV prevention and management programmes and improved socioeconomic conditions have impacted on the epidemiology of paediatric community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in South Africa (SA). Objectives. To summarise effective preventive strategies to reduce the burden of childhood CAP. Methods. An expert subgroup reviewed existing SA guidelines and new publications focusing on prevention. Published evidence on pneumonia prevention informed the revisions; in the absence of evidence, expert opinion was used. Evidence was graded using the British Thoracic Society (BTS) grading system. Recommendations. General measures for prevention include minimising exposure to tobacco smoke or air pollution, breastfeeding, optimising nutrition, optimising maternal health from pregnancy onwards, adequate antenatal care and improvement in socioeconomic and living conditions. Prevention of viral transmission, including SARS-CoV-2, can be achieved by hand hygiene, environmental decontamination, use of masks and isolation of infected people. Specific preventive measures include vaccines as contained in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation schedule, isoniazid prophylaxis for tuberculosis, co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for HIV-infected infants and children who are immunosuppressed, and timely diagnosis of HIV, as well as antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation. HIV-infected children treated with ART from early infancy, and HIV-exposed children, have similar immunogenicity and immune responses to most childhood vaccines as HIV-unexposed infants. Validation. These recommendations are based on available published evidence supplemented by the consensus opinion of SA paediatric experts, and are consistent with those in published international guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-746
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Medical Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


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