Intended for healthcare professionals


Acute respiratory infections are world’s third leading cause of death

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 09 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6360
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus are responsible for 4.25 million deaths worldwide each year, new figures show.

The data from the World Lung Foundation’s first Acute Respiratory Infections Atlas show that acute respiratory infections are the third largest cause of deaths in the world (after heart disease and stroke) and the leading killer in low and middle income countries. But despite the death toll and morbidity, respiratory infection gets only a fraction of the support from governments, donor agencies, and charities that other illnesses receive, says the foundation.

Peter Baldini, the foundation’s chief executive officer, said, “We know that at …

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