The latest report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on adolescent health reveals lower respiratory tract infection to be the second leading cause of death in the age group of 10 to 19 in 2015.
The report is a part of document launched at the Global Adolescent Health Conference: Unleashing the Power of a Generation, on May 16 in Ottawa, Canada. Road traffic injuries and suicide are the other biggest causes of death among adolescents.
According to the WHO report, while it is the number one cause of death among adolescent girls, it is the second leading cause of death among males of same age group. Speaking to My Medical Mantra, doctors in Mumbai agreed with the WHO figures saying they have also seen a rise in lower respiratory tract infections in children and adolescent age group in last few years.
“Urbanisation, increased pollution levels are major factor of rise in lower respiratory tract infections in children and adolescent age group in a city like Mumbai,” said Dr Mukesh Sanklecha, Consulting Paediatrician Pulmonologist, Bombay hospital. According to WHO’s report, 72, 655 died in 2015 due to lower respiratory illness in the adolescent age group.
Doctors say lower respiratory tract infections are a persistent and a pervasive health problem which impose an enormous burden on the society. “Respiratory ailments are the most frequent reasons for consulting a paediatrician; the most common ones being cough and cold. They are concerned when the cough becomes recurrent or persistent causing interference in the daily routine of the child,” said Dr Amin Kaba, Consultant Paediatrician, Saifee Hospital.
Explaining on how excessive cleanliness is also a factor to rising lower respiratory ailments, Dr Sanklecha called it as hygiene hypothesis he said, “As the level hygiene improves, the incidence of infection goes down and incidence of allergies goes up, this is called as hygiene hypothesis. So, when children are not exposed to infection early in life, they do get asthma and other allergies in adverse environment,” he said.