Pneumonia is caused by several infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. The infection can be spread in several ways.
According to WHO, the viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in a child’s nose or throat can infect the lungs if they are inhaled. They may also spread via air-borne droplets from a cough or sneeze.
In addition, pneumonia may spread through blood, especially during and shortly after birth. More research needs to be done on the different pathogens causing pneumonia and the ways they are transmitted as this is of critical importance for treatment and prevention.
Pneumonia is usually treated with antibiotics. Meanwhile, preventing pneumonia in children is an essential component of a strategy to reduce child mortality. Immunization against Hib, pneumococcus, measles and whooping cough (pertussis) is the most effective way to prevent pneumonia.