New World Health Organisation data published in the Lancet will shed new light on two leading causes of pneumonia, the world's leading killer of children under age 5, both globally and within specific countries. The results, which are the first ever available at the country level, are expected to serve as a clarion call to developing country governments to invest in pneumonia prevention programmes.
According to the studies, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae type b [Hib] infections take the lives of an estimated 1.2 million children under age 5 each year. Safe and effective vaccines exist to provide protection against both diseases. However, use of Hib vaccine has only recently expanded to low-income countries and pneumococcal vaccine is not yet included in national immunisation programmes in the developing world, where children bear the highest risk for pneumonia and where most pneumonia-related child deaths occur.
For more information and country-specific estimates, visit www.who.int/immunization_monitoring/burden/en/.