Pneumonia: Single Largest Infectious Cause of Death in Children Worldwide
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Pneumonia: Single Largest Infectious Cause of Death in Children Worldwide

November 13, 2018 | Sidra Wafa

World Pneumonia Day is annually held on November 12 to raise awareness of pneumonia, and generate action to fight the illness.

Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs, making breathing painful and limiting oxygen intake. Pneumonia can be spread in a number of ways. The viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child's nose or throat, can infect the lungs if they are inhaled. They may also spread via airborne droplets from a cough or sneeze.

Most healthy children can fight the infection with their natural defense, children whose immune systems are compromised are at higher risk of developing pneumonia, environmental factors also increase a child's susceptibility to pneumonia, indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating with biomass fuels (such as wood or dung), living in crowded homes, parental smoking.

Pneumonia is the single largest infectious cause of death in children worldwide

•  Pneumonia accounts for 16% of all deaths of children under 5 years old, killing 920,136 children in 2015.

  Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or fungi.

  Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, but only one-third of children with pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need.

  Pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition, and by addressing environmental factors.

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