The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England have published final antimicrobial prescribing guidance on community-acquired (CAP) and hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) in adults, young people and children.

The organisation says that the two guidelines set out an antimicrobial prescribing strategy that aims to optimise antibiotic use and reduce antibiotic resistance. The guidance also states that both types of pneumonia can be life-threatening. New recommendations have been added to highlight that antibiotic treatment should be started as soon as possible - no more than four hours after diagnosis and one hour if sepsis is suspected.

Between 2013 and 2017, drug resistant infections in people increased by 35% in England. Earlier this year, NICE reviewed evidence that found that people, on average, are being prescribed unnecessarily long courses of antibiotics which may lead to antibiotic resistance.

As a result, NICE published a suite of antimicrobial guidelines which aim to advise and ensure that antibiotics remain an effective treatment for future generations. The guidance stresses that the shortest antibiotic course effective should be prescribed where possible.

Hospital acquired pneumonia is pneumonia that has developed 48 hours or more after hospital admission and was not incubating at the time of admission. It’s caused by microorganisms that are acquired in hospital, most commonly Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Community acquired pneumonia, however, is contracted outside of hospital and usually caused by bacteria such as methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. There are approximately 220,000 people each year who receive a diagnosis of pneumonia.