To review epidemiology, aetiology and management of childhood pneumonia in low-and-middle-income countries.
Review of published English literature between 2013 and 2019.
Pneumonia remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Risk factors include young age, malnutrition, immunosuppression, tobacco smoke or air pollution exposure. Better methods for specimen collection and molecular diagnostics have improved microbiological diagnosis, indicating that pneumonia results from several organisms interacting. Induced sputum increases microbiologic yield for Bordetella pertussis or Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which has been associated with pneumonia in high TB prevalence areas. The proportion of cases due to Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae b has declined with new conjugate vaccines; Staphylococcus aureus and H. influenzae non-type b are the commonest bacterial pathogens; viruses are the most common pathogens. Effective interventions comprise antibiotics, oxygen and non-invasive ventilation. New vaccines have reduced severity and incidence of disease, but disparities exist in uptake.
Morbidity and mortality from childhood pneumonia has decreased but a considerable preventable burden remains. Widespread implementation of available, effective interventions and development of novel strategies are needed.