Deepthi D1, Shubha Jayaram2, Savitha M. R3, Manjunath S. N4, Sreenivas N5, Shylaja Dharmesh6

INTRODUCTION: Pneumonia is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in children aged below 5 years. Pneumonia is responsible for about 19% of all deaths in this age group.1 As per the data published by World Health Organization, 10.5 million children under the age of 2 years across the world lose their lives due to 5 preventable and curable diseases every year. Respiratory tract infections are responsible for 28% of all these deaths.2,3
Of the total 156 million new episodes each year worldwide, approximately 43(24%) million cases take place in India. Approximately 95% of pneumonia related deaths occur in developing countries and the youngest age group has the highest risk of death.4
Pneumonia and Diarrhoea are major causes of death in children of this age group. Zinc administration as a therapeutic agent has been well documented in acute or persistent pediatric diarrhea which reduces the duration of the diarrhea and is associated with a lower rate of treatment failure or death.5
Zinc is known to protect children from respiratory tract infections by its role in regulation of immunomodulators, immunoregulators, protection of the epithelium of the respiratory tract from infections and improvement of T-lymphocytes.6 Zinc is also an important antioxidant and a cytoprotective agent which acts against toxins and inflammatory mediators which damage the respiratory epithelium.7 Even a mild and moderate deficiency of Zinc impairs the function of the immune system, thus resistance against the infections is reduced and T-lymphocytes could not exhibit sufficient effectiveness.8
Recent works have provided conflicting evidence on the role of zinc against pneumonia. While some studies, report that there are no significant difference in blood zinc levels in pediatric pneumonia, some other studies have shown significant reduction in the blood zinc levels in pediatric pneumonia when compared to controls.4 Hence the present study was conducted with an intent to estimate serum zinc levels in pediatric Pneumonia.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study was conducted at Department of Biochemistry, Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC & RI), Mysore and Department of Pediatrics, Cheluvamba hospital Mysore, which is attached to Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC & RI), Mysore district, Karnataka, India.
The sample size was 60. This sample size was arrived at by keeping 5% significance and allowable error of 20%. Out of them, 30 subjects who were included as cases were children who were in the age group of 2 months to 5 years and diagnosed as per WHO criteria and hospitalized for pneumonia. 24 cases were of bacterial pneumonia and rest were caused by other pathogens (Viral and fungal).