Viruses Cause Most Childhood Pneumonia

Viruses are to blame for most of the severe childhood pneumonia cases in low- and middle-income countries, according to a new study published in The Lancet by a global consortium of scientists—highlighting the need for vaccines against these pathogens.
 
The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health study, led by the International Vaccine Access Center in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, included ~10,000 children in 7 countries: Bangladesh, The Gambia, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Thailand, and Zambia. The researchers determined that 61% of severe pneumonia cases were caused by viruses. Respiratory syncytial virus alone was responsible for 31% of cases.
 
Enhanced understanding of which pathogens are responsible for childhood pneumonia—which kills an estimated 900,000 a year—could improve treatment and prevention strategies, the PERCH team notes.
 
Plus: It could cut down on the overuse of antibiotics, Science reports.

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