Every year, “World Pneumonia Day (WPD)” is observed on November 12 to spread awareness about pneumonia, promote the importance of prevention and treatment, and generate action to fight the illness. Organized by the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia, the one-day event aims to raise awareness of pneumonia as a child health issue and to prevent child death from pneumonia. This significant day is observed to promote interventions to protect against this disease. Regarded as a leading cause of death among children and the elderly, pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs in one or both lungs (which are called alveoli). The alveoli may fill with fluid or pus, causing cough and breathing difficulty. Bacteria and viruses are the main causes of pneumonia, which settle in the alveoli and are usually inhaled. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be passed on through coughing and sneezing, or spread onto shared objects through touch. The very first symptoms of pneumonia usually resemble those of a cold or flu. The person then develops a high fever, chills, and cough with sputum. Other related symptoms include – chest pain while breathing or coughing, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea as well as shortness of breath. Physicians providing treatment for this infectious respiratory disease can rely on medical coding companies to meet their reimbursement concerns.

Pneumonia is among the world’s leading causes of death in children under five years of age. Each year, almost 700,000 children die from pneumonia. According to an article published in The Lancet, “Every 2 minutes three children will die from pneumonia, the leading infectious cause of child mortality globally, killing more children than diarrhoea and malaria combined.” The condition can range in seriousness from mild to life-threatening. However, it is most serious for infants and young children, people above the age of 65 years and people with chronic health problems or weakened immune systems.

Pneumonia is classified into different types according to where or how it was acquired. These include – hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and aspiration pneumonia. Diagnosis of this condition will begin with a medical history review and a detailed physical exam, including listening to your lungs with a stethoscope to check for abnormal bubbling or crackling sounds that suggest pneumonia. Diagnostic screening tests like Chest X-ray, CT scan, Pulse Oximetry, sputum test and Pleural fluid culture will be performed to determine the extent and location of the infection. In addition, blood tests are also performed to confirm an infection and identify the type of organisms causing the infection. The first line treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing complications. Treatment options include – antibiotics, cough medicine and pain relievers (such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).

Pulmonary medical billing and coding can be challenging. Pulmonologists or infectious disease specialists diagnosing the symptoms and providing specialized treatment for pneumonia need to be reimbursed for their services. The correct ICD-10 codes must be used to indicate a diagnosis of pneumonia and these include –

J12 – Viral pneumonia, not elsewhere classified

    • J12.0 – Adenoviral pneumonia
    • J12.1 – Respiratory syncytial virus pneumonia
    • J12.2 – Para influenza virus pneumonia
    • J12.3 – Human metapneumovirus pneumonia
    • J12.8 – Other viral pneumonia
    • J12.9 – Viral pneumonia, unspecified

J13 – Pneumonia due to Streptococcus pneumonia

J14 – Pneumonia due to Hemophilus influenzae
J15 – Bacterial pneumonia, not elsewhere classified

    • J15.0 – Pneumonia due to Klebsiella pneumoniae
    • J15.1 – Pneumonia due to Pseudomonas
    • J15.2 – Pneumonia due to staphylococcus
    • J15.3 – Pneumonia due to streptococcus, group B
    • J15.4 – Pneumonia due to other streptococci
    • J15.5 – Pneumonia due to Escherichia coli
    • J15.6 – Pneumonia due to other Gram-negative bacteria
    • J15.7 – Pneumonia due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae
    • J15.8 – Pneumonia due to other specified bacteria
    • J15.9 – Unspecified bacterial pneumonia

J16 – Pneumonia due to other infectious organisms, not elsewhere classified

    • J16.0 – Chlamydial pneumonia
    • J16.8 – Pneumonia due to other specified infectious organisms

J17 – Pneumonia in diseases classified elsewhere

J18 – Pneumonia, unspecified organism

    • J18.0 – Bronchopneumonia, unspecified organism
    • J18.1 – Lobar pneumonia, unspecified organism
    • J18.2 – Hypostatic pneumonia, unspecified organism
    • J18.8 – Other pneumonia, unspecified organism
    • J18.9 – Pneumonia, unspecified organism

With an objective to bring together people from all over the world to fight pneumonia, the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia established the first “World Pneumonia Day” in 2009. When the first WPD was launched, pneumonia affected about 1.2 million children each year. In 2013, the WHO and UNICEF released the integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhea. The Global Action Plan set the goal that by 2025, there will be no more than three pneumonia deaths per 1,000 live births in each country.

The theme for 2019 WPD is – “Healthy lungs for all” which signifies the need to promote lung health globally. Over the years, the campaign has transformed into a strong global platform wherein a network of over 100 international, government, non-governmental and community-based organizations, research and academic institutions, foundations, and individuals joined hands to spread awareness about pneumonia.

The year 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of WPD and the annual global celebration is aiming at championing the fight against pneumonia. The Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia is planning to call for materialistic action from governments and other stakeholders to launch the “Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia” in January 2020 – which plans to ensure that pneumonia is at the foremost of national and global health agendas.

Take part in “World Pneumonia Day (WPD)” celebration on November 12! Be aware about the causes and related symptoms.