Today is World Pneumonia Day and it is observed every year with an aim to raise awareness about pneumonia the leading cause of infections killer in children under the age 5. The forum supports interventions globally taken to protect, prevent and effectively treat this fatal infection. It was first established in the year 2009. This year theme is Stop Pneumonia/Every Breathe Counts.

Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection, where the lungs are inflamed, filled with fluid making breathing difficult and reduced oxygen intake. Pneumonia is caused by viral, bacterial and fungal infections and the most common one is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Pneumonia is a common respiratory illness which is one of the leading causes of mortality in children even though it can be effectively prevented and treated. Statistics reveal that pneumonia affects 155 million under the age 5 and the mortality rate is 1.6million in a year, claiming about one child every 39 seconds.

In India, about 43 million cases of pneumonia are reported every year, thus making pneumonia a life-threatening infection more than AIDS, measles and malaria. Vaccines, proper nutrition, improving the environmental conditions and other preventable measures are beneficial in lowering the impact of the disease, but much more is needed to lessen the mortality rate. Also Read: Can Pneumonia Be Prevented?

World Pneumonia Day