Announcement: World Pneumonia Day — November 12, 2016

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November 12th marks the eighth annual World Pneumonia Day, observed to raise awareness of pneumonia as a global public health concern for persons of all ages and a leading infectious cause of death of children aged <5 years, causing approximately 900,000 child deaths annually (1). In the United States, the majority of the 53,000 annual pneumonia deaths occur in persons aged ≥65 years. Respiratory viruses, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, and Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria are among the leading causes of pneumonia; RSV annually causes an average of 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths in adults aged ≥65 years in the United States (1,2). In addition, approximately 5,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease occur each year in the United States, a 286% increase from 2000–2014; the case fatality rate is about 10% (1).

Approximately two thirds of the world’s countries routinely use pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in their childhood immunization programs, and nearly every country in the world includes a Haemophilus influenzae type b-containing vaccine in their program (3,4). If these two vaccines were routinely used in the world’s 73 poorest countries, 2.9 million lives would be saved and 52 million cases of illness would be prevented by 2020 (5). New vaccines also show promise for lowering the burden of pneumonia. Currently, more than 50 vaccine products to prevent RSV are in development (

Appropriate treatment is also instrumental in preventing pneumonia deaths. New treatment guidelines for hospital-acquired pneumonia and ventilator-associated pneumonia recommend shorter courses of antibiotics than are usually prescribed, which ensures safe and effective treatment while limiting development of antibiotic resistance (6).

Information about World Pneumonia Day is available at, including the 2016 Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report.


  1. CDC. Pneumonia. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2016.
  2. Falsey AR, Hennessey PA, Formica MA, Cox C, Walsh EE. Respiratory syncytial virus infection in elderly and high-risk adults. N Engl J Med 2005;352:1749–59. CrossRef PubMed
  3. Subaiya S, Dumolard L, Lydon P, Gacic-Dobo M, Eggers R, Conklin L. Global routine vaccination coverage, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2015;64:1252–5. CrossRef PubMed
  4. International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). State of PCV use and impact evaluations. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Vaccine Access Center; 2016.
  5. International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC). Learn about pneumonia: facts, figures and what you can do. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, International Vaccine Access Center; 2012.
  6. Kalil AC, Metersky ML, Klompas M, et al. Management of adults with hospital-acquired and ventilator-associated pneumonia: 2016 clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Thoracic Society. Clin Infect Dis 2016;63:e61–111. CrossRef PubMed

Suggested citation for this article: Announcement: World Pneumonia Day — November 12, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1241. DOI:

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