Pneumonia represents an inflammatory, usually infectious process involving the alveoli and airway structures of the lungs. Pneumonia continues to be a significant cause of infant and childhood morbidity and mortality. It is twice as common in infants as in older children. Respiratory tract infection still represents the most common illness that occurs in the child. The method of infection is usually inhalation. Occasionally, particularly in neonates, infection may be caused by hematogenous spread. Rarely, it spreads from contiguous structures. Endemic or epidemic disease is common, particularly in the winter and spring months. The signs and symptoms of these various pneumonic diseases are similar and mainly relate to fever, cough, malaise, tachypnea, wheezing, and progressive respiratory distress. Radiographic patterns are frequently indistinguishable from one another.
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