Community acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a leading cause of childhood morbidity worldwide. Because of the rising antimicrobial resistance rates and adverse effects of childhood antibiotic use on the developing microbiome, rational prescribing of antibiotics for CAP is important. This review summarizes and critically reflects on the available evidence for the epidemiology, etiology and antimicrobial management of childhood CAP. Larger prospective studies on antimicrobial management derive mostly from low- or middle-income countries as they have the highest burden of CAP. Optimal antimicrobial management depends on the etiology, age, local vaccination policies and resistance patterns. As long as non-rapid surrogate markers are used to distinguish viral- from bacterial pneumonia, the management is probably suboptimal. For a young child with signs of non-severe pneumonia (with or without wheezing), watchful waiting is recommended because of probable viral etiology. For children with more severe CAP with fever, a five-day oral amoxicillin course would be the first choice therapy and dosage will depend on local resistance rates. There is no clear evidence yet for superiority of a macrolide-based regimen for all ages. For cases with CAP requiring hospitalization, several studies have shown that narrow-spectrum IV beta-lactam therapy is as effective as a broad-spectrum cephalosporin therapy. For most severe disease, broad-spectrum therapy with or without a macrolide is suggested. In case of empyema, rapid IV-to-oral switch seems to be equivalent to prolonged IV treatment.

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Paediatric Respiratory Reviews
Department of Neonatology

Tramper-Stranders, G.A. (Gerdien A.). (2017). Childhood community-acquired pneumonia: A review of etiology- and antimicrobial treatment studies. Paediatric Respiratory Reviews. doi:10.1016/j.prrv.2017.06.013