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MLT_GIB/OTH/0007/17m
Date of preparation: March 2018

What causes pneumonia?  

Pneumonia is usually caused by bacteria or viruses 1 and Streptococcus pneumoniae is thought to be responsible for 30–50% of bacterial pneumonia cases. 2 In most cases no pathogens can be isolated but those episodes which are blood culture positive frequently contain Streptococcus pneumoniae. 2 3

Pneumonia primarily affects young infants and the elderly 4 and Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia among children in the developing world. 5

Pneumonia is a leading infectious cause of death in children under 5 years worldwide, accounting for approximately 1 in 6 of all childhood deaths in 2015. 6

Reference:

  1. WHO Pneumonia Fact Sheet No 331 November 2014. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs331/en/ [Last accessed June 2015]. 
  2. Rudan I, et al. Epidemiology and etiology of childhood pneumonia. Bull World Health Organ 2008; 86: 408–16.
  3. Ben Shimol S, et al. Differential Impact of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccines on Bacteremic Pneumonia Versus Other Invasive Pneumococcal Disease. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2015; 34: 409-16.
  4. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Who is at risk for Pneumonia? Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/pneumonia  [Last accessed June 2015].
  5. UNICEF/WHO, Pneumonia: the forgotten killer of children, 2006.
  6. Liu L, et al. Lancet 2016; ePub ahead of print, published online November 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)32169-9