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Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases

Haemophilus influenzae. Photo: CDC / Dr W A Clark / Wikimedia Commons

A brief guide to pneumonia and other respiratory diseases, and their impact globally and in Bangladesh.


  • Pneumonia, inflammation of the lungs, can be caused by a wide range of bacteria and viruses (and occasionally fungal and parasite infections).
  • The most common bacterial causes of pneumonia include Streptococcus pneumoniae (also known as pneumococcus), Haemophilus influenzae and Staphylococcus aureus.
  • The most common viral causes of pneumonia include influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza viruses; viral infections are particularly common in children.
  • Pneumonia is an infection of the lower respiratory tract (an LRI or LRTI); these are typically more severe than infections of the upper respiratory tract (URIs or URTIs), such as the common cold, tonsillitis and laryngitis.
  • Lower respiratory tract infections cause about 2.7 million deaths a year; upper respiratory tract infections are responsible for about 3,000 deaths a year.
  • Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death among children under five years of age, killing 2,500 children a day.
  • Pneumonia accounts for 16% of deaths of children under the age of five deaths, and killed about 922,000 children in 2015; most deaths were of children under two years of age.
  • Annual child deaths from pneumonia decreased by 47% from 2000 to 2015, from 1.7 million to 922,000 million.

In Bangladesh…

  • In Bangladesh, pneumonia is responsible for around 28% of the deaths of children under five years of age.
  • Around 50,000 children die of pneumonia every year.
  • An estimated 80,000 children under five years of age are admitted to hospital with virus-associated acute respiratory illness each year; the total number of infections is likely to be much higher.

Mortality estimates from Global Burden of Disease 2013 study

  Children <5 Total
Haemophilusinfluenzae 180,700 108,700
Influenza 15,100 594,400
Pneumococcus 264,000 594,400
RSV 41,100 81,500


UNICEF: http://data.unicef.org/child-health/pneumonia.html#sthash.rLMWAkoB.dpuf

Lozano Ret al. Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet.2012;380 (9859): 2095–128.