You are now leaving GSK Malta Health Portal

You are about to leave a GSK Website. By clicking this link, you will be taken to an external website that is not owned or controlled by GSK, and GSK is not responsible for the content provided on this site. If you do not wish to leave this website, click on “Go Back” below:


Go back

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


  1. WHO Pneumonia Fact Sheet No 331 November 2014. Available at: [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:  [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.