Image: Incidence of childhood clinical pneumonia at the country level from WHO
This page is part of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in India post
I will limit this discussion to pneumonia and tuberculosis (which isn’t solely respiratory) for the sake of brevity.
Pneumonia is the leading global killer of children under five, responsible for almost 1.6 million deaths per year. In that vulnerable population, it is a disease of poverty and occurs most commonly when a child’s still-developing defense system is weakened by malnutrition, air pollution, co-infections with HIV/AIDS and measles, and low birthweight, with 43 million cases for children in India alone.
- Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children worldwide.
- Pneumonia kills an estimated 1.2 million children under the age of five years every year – more than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.
- Pneumonia can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi.
- Pneumonia can be prevented by immunization, adequate nutrition and by addressing environmental factors.
- Pneumonia caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics, but around 30% of children with pneumonia receive the antibiotics they need. (source)
Pneumonia occurs when the sacs of the lungs, known as alveoli, become filled with pus and fluid, limiting oxygen intake and making it hard to breathe.