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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 caused about 2.5million deaths in 2019; upper respiratory tract infections were responsible for about 9,464deaths.1,2
  • Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death among children under five years of age, killing 2,000 children a day.3
  • Annual child deaths from pneumonia decreased by 47% from 2000 to 2015, from 1.7 million to 922,000 million.4
  • Pneumonia accounts for 14% of deaths of children under the age of five deaths and killed about 740,180 children in 2019.5

In Bangladesh…

  • Around 12,000 children under five die of pneumonia every year.5
  • There were about 932,588 cases of lower respiratory infections among children under five years of age.1,2

Mortality estimates from Global Burden of Disease 2019 study1,2

  Children <5 Total
Haemophilusinfluenzae 66,104 75,920
Influenza 37,070 243,670
Pneumococcus 375,809 1,465,593
RSV 123,790 338,494



1.     https://www.healthdata.org/gbd/2019

2.     https://vizhub.healthdata.org/gbd-compare/

3.     https://data.unicef.org/topic/child-health/pneumonia/

4.     https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6293057/

5.     https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pneumonia

6.     https://www.unicef.org/bangladesh/en/press-releases/one-child-dies-pneumonia-every-39-seconds-agencies-warn