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Announcement: World Pneumonia Day --- November 2, 2009

Pneumonia kills more children than any other illness; of the approximately 10 million children aged <5 years who die each year worldwide, 2 million die from pneumonia (1). Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) account for approximately half of pneumonia deaths globally in children aged 1 month--5 years (2,3). Much of this disease burden is vaccine-preventable. In the United States, seven-valent pneumococcal conjugate and Hib vaccines are recommended for infants and children aged <2 years as part of the routine infant immunization schedule and have reduced morbidity and mortality from pneumococcal and Hib disease (4,5). Collaborative international efforts are expanding use of these vaccines in developing countries (6,7).

Viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus, measles, and influenza also are a major cause of pneumonia. Access to vaccines, antivirals and supportive health-care measures reduces the burden of infections from these viruses.

To raise awareness of the effects of pneumonia globally, the first World Pneumonia Day, November 2, 2009, is being promoted by a coalition of 40 major health, humanitarian relief, advocacy, faith-based, government, and other organizations; CDC and UNICEF are providing technical assistance. Events are scheduled at CDC and elsewhere in the United States, and in other countries. Additional information is available at


  1. World Health Organization. Pneumonia: the forgotten killer of children. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2006. Available at Accessed October 22, 2009.
  2. O'Brien KL, Wolfson LJ, Watt JP, et al; Hib and Pneumococcal Global Burden of Disease Study Team. Burden of disease caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in children younger than 5 years: global estimates. Lancet 2009;374:893--902.
  3. Watt JP, Wolfson LJ, O'Brien KL, et al; Hib and Pneumococcal Global Burden of Disease Study Team. Burden of disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b in children younger than 5 years: global estimates. Lancet 2009;374:903--11.
  4. Whitney CG, Farley MM, Hadler J, et al; Active Bacterial Core Surveillance of the Emerging Infections Program Network. Decline in invasive pneumococcal disease after the introduction of protein-polysaccharide conjugate vaccine. N Eng J Med 2003;348:1737--46.
  5. Adams WG, Deaver KA, Cochi SL, et al. Decline of childhood Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) disease in the Hib vaccine era. JAMA 1993;269:221--6.
  6. CDC. Progress toward introduction of Haemophilus influenzae type b vaccine in low-income countries---worldwide, 2004--2007. MMWR 2008;57:148--51.
  7. CDC. Progress in introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine---worldwide, 2000--2008. MMWR 2008;57:1148--51.

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Date last reviewed: 10/29/2009


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