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. 2017 Oct 5;9:15.
doi: 10.1186/s41479-017-0039-9. eCollection 2017.

Community-acquired Pneumonia in the United Kingdom: A Call to Action

Free PMC article

Community-acquired Pneumonia in the United Kingdom: A Call to Action

James Chalmers et al. Pneumonia (Nathan). .
Free PMC article


Pneumococcal disease has a high burden in adults in the United Kingdom (UK); however, the total burden is underestimated, principally because most cases of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) are non-invasive. Research into pneumonia receives poor funding relative to its disease burden (global mortality, disability-adjusted life years, and years lived with disability), ranking just 20 out of 25 for investment in infectious diseases in the UK. The current accuracy of data for establishing incidence rates is questionable, and it is a reflection of the paucity of research that much of the background information available derives from nearly 30 years ago. Given the relationship between CAP and mortality (pneumonia accounts for 29,000 deaths per annum in the UK, and 5-15% of patients hospitalised with CAP die within 30 days of admission), and the increasing threat of antimicrobial resistance associated with inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, such neglect of a highly prevalent problem is concerning. In this Call to Action, we explore the poorly understood burden of CAP in the UK, discuss the importance of an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and suggest how national collaboration could improve the management of an often life-threatening, yet potentially preventable disease.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Clostridium Difficile; Community-acquired pneumonia; Immunization; Pneumococcal disease; Pneumonia burden; Pneumonia diagnostics; Pneumonia epidemiology; Streptococcus Pneumoniae.

Conflict of interest statement

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Not applicable.

Consent for publication

Not applicable.

Competing interests

Dr. James Chalmers has received research grant support from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Bayer Healthcare and has participated in advisory boards or lectures for Griffols, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Napp, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Bayer Healthcare.

Prof. Peter Hawkey has received support from Pfizer to present at educational meetings and to attend advisory board meetings, as well as research funding and/or speaker support from: AstraZeneca, Beckton Dickinson, Eumedica; MSD, Novartis, Novacta, Roche, Department of Health UK, NIHR, and PHE. He is also Director of Modus Medica, a medical education/consultancy.

Prof. Mary Slack has received personal fees from GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Sanofi Pasteur as a speaker at international meetings and as a member of advisory boards (outside the scope of the submitted work). She has also worked as a contractor for Pfizer.

James Campling, Gillian Ellsbury and Harish Madhava are full-time employees of Pfizer; no other conflicts of interest to declare.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Incidence rates of CAP around the world. *Age group 65–74 years only. CAP, community-acquired pneumonia; CAP IC, community-acquired pneumonia in children; HCAP, healthcare-acquired pneumonia
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Simplified schematic of the UK care pathway for adult patients with CAP accessing healthcare, and estimated capture of incidence rates. A&E, accident and emergency; CAP, community-acquired pneumonia; CXR, chest X-ray; GP, general practitioner; HES, hospital episode statistics; ICU, intensive care unit; NICE, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

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