UMEM Educational Pearls

Typically, empiric treatment for lobar community acquire pneumonia (CAP) in immunized < 5 year olds (preschool) is amoxicillin (45mg/kg BID or 30 mg/kg TID for resistant S. pneumoniae) for outpatient and ampicillin or ceftriaxone for inpatient. Additional coverage with azithromycin is typically recommended for school age and adolescent  patients (>= 5 years), but not necessarily for younger children unless there is a particular clinical suspicion for atypical pneumonia with history, xray findings, or sick contacts.

However, in sickle cell patient with suspicion for acute chest syndrome, azithromycin is recommended for all ages groups, as atypical bacteria such as Mycoplasma are a common cause of acute chest syndrome in patients of all ages with sickle cell disease even young children. In a prospective series of 598 children with acute chest syndrome, 12% of the 112 cases in children less than 5 had positive serologic testing of M. pneumoniae (9% of all cases had M. pneumoniae) (Neumayr et al, 2003).


1) Bradley et al. The Management of Community-Acquired Pneumonia in infants and children older than 3 months of age: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin. Infect. Dis. 53:617-630 (2011)

2) Miller, S. How I treat acute chest syndrome in children with sickle cell disease. Blood 117:5297-5305 (2011)

3) Neumayr L, et al. Mycoplasma disease and acute chest syndrome in sickle cell disease. Pediatrics 1212:87-95 (2003)