According to Statistics Canada, pneumonia and influenza cause nearly 2,000 deaths per year in Quebec alone. In 2014, nearly 6,600 Canadians will have died.
Pneumonia particularly threatens those who are more vulnerable, such as children, the elderly or people whose immune system is weakened by a chronic disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumonia is the world’s leading cause of death among newborns and children under 5 years of age.
Pneumonia is a severe respiratory infection in which there is both infection and inflammation of the lungs, especially the alveoli. The alveoli are comparable to small bunches of grapes at the end of each bronchus whose role is to allow oxygen to enter the bloodstream. During pneumonia, some of the alveoli fill with purulent liquid, preventing air from entering. Pneumonia is most often caused by bacteria, but it is also possible that a virus, such as the flu virus, is responsible for the infection.
Pneumonia can be described as lobar or bronchial, depending on its extent:
Lobar pneumonia: It is localized in one part of the lung only (in one lobe). It can become multilobar if it affects more than one lobe.
Bronchial pneumonia or bronchopneumonia: It affects the entire lung, i.e. the bronchioles and alveoli.
There are more than 100 microorganisms that can cause pneumonia, but only a few of them are responsible for most cases. There are three varieties of pneumonia depending on the agent involved.