Flu and pneumonia are two common respiratory illnesses. Both illnesses can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes on others, when an infected person shares drinking glasses and eating utensils with others, or when somone touches the used tissues or handkerchiefs of an infected person. Pneumonia is often a complication of a pre-existing condition/infection and is triggered when a patient's immune defense system is weakened, most often by a simple viral respiratory tract infection or a case of the flu. This is especially true for the elderly.
In 2009, 1.1 million people in the United States were hospitalized with pneumonia and more than 50,000 people died from the disease. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year for respiratory and heart conditions associated with seasonal influenza virus infections. In 2005, these conditions together ranked as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States and the sixth leading cause for people over 65 years of age.
For young children, pneumonia is a very serious illness. The CDC estimates that 4,000 cases of serious disease (meningitis and sepsis) occur each year in children under age 5 in the U.S. These illnesses can lead to disability like deafness, brain damage, or loss of arms or legs. About 1 out of 10 children who get pneumococcal meningitis dies. Before the vaccine, there were about 700 cases of meningitis, 13,000 blood infections, and 200 deaths from pneumococcal disease each year among children younger than 5 years. After the vaccine was introduced, these numbers dropped quickly.
Local Data: Total Number of Deaths that Occurred in Allen County
Disease 2011 2012 (To date)
Pneumonia 229 194
Influenza 3 2