Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a type of pneumonia that affects kids with compromised immune systems. Kids with HIV/AIDS, kids who have had organ transplants, or kids that are being treated for cancer are at greater risk for developing PCP.
What causes pneumocystis pneumonia?
Pneumocystis pneumonia is caused by a fungus called pneumocystis carinii or pneumocystis jiroveci. Many people come into contact with the fungus either in the air or in soil, but in kids who don’t have a healthy immune system, the fungus can make them sick.
Is pneumocystis pneumonia serious?
Pneumocystis pneumonia is not dangerous for people who are generally healthy, but it kills about 10% of the immune-compromised people who get it, so it can be very serious.
Can I prevent pneumocystis pneumonia?
PCP can be prevented through appropriate antiretroviral therapy (ART).
How do I know if my child has pneumocystis pneumonia?
Kids with PCP may have a fever, dry cough, and trouble breathing.
How do I treat pneumocystis pneumonia?
Pneumocystis pneumonia is treated with antibiotics, rest and plenty of fluids. Your child may need to be hospitalised for treatment.
Should I call the doctor?
Your doctor may talk to you about preventing illnesses such as PCP if your child has a weak immune system. However, if your child has any of the symptoms of PCP, you should call your doctor immediately.
What you need to know about pneumocystis pneumonia
- Pneumocystis pneumonia is known as PCP.
- PCP is a life-threatening illness that occurs in people with weakened immune systems.
- PCP is caused by a fungus that is generally harmless in healthy people.
- PCP may require treatment with antibiotics.
Find more relevant articles and information about Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)
- More about pneumonia
- What is scarlet fever?
- Find information on sinusitis
- What is tuberculosis?
- Learn more about whooping cough (Pertussis)
Written by Rebecca Stigall for Kidspot, New Zealand’s parenting resource for family health. Sources include Better Health Channel, NSW Health and Health Insite.
Last revised: Sunday, 17 January 2010
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.