Causes of severe pneumonia requiring hospital admission in children without HIV infection from Africa and Asia: the PERCH multi-country case-control study

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other viruses now appear to be the main causes of severe childhood pneumonia in low- and middle-income countries, highlighting the need for vaccines against these pathogens, according to a study from a consortium of scientists from around the world led by the International Vaccine Access Center in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

While much progress has been made to reduce childhood pneumonia, it remains the leading cause of death worldwide among children under 5 years old with about 900,000 fatalities and more than 100 million reported cases each year. This makes pneumonia a greater cause of childhood mortality than malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, Zika virus, and Ebola virus combined.

The main causes of pneumonia today are not the same as they were in past decades, in part due to successful vaccines against H. influenzae and pneumococcal disease. New estimates about what causes severe pneumonia are critical for decision makers involved in the fight against pneumonia.

Authors include Katherine L O’Brien, Maria Deloria Knoll, Laura L Hammitt, Melissa M Higdon, E Wangeci Kagucia, and Christine Prosperi.

Photo by Jane Crawley

Access the full publication at The Lancet

Causes of severe pneumonia requiring hospital admission in children without HIV infection from Africa and Asia: the PERCH multi-country case-control study