AROUND 12 million children under the age of five are hospitalised with serious chest infections such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis each year, a global study has suggested.
Researchers at Edinburgh University also found that an estimated 265,000 children under five who are suffering from chest infections die in hospital each year.
Almost all of these deaths – 99 per cent – take place in the developing world. Around eight out of ten children who die from chest infections do so outside of hospital care, and boys are more likely to be hospitalised because of chest infections than girls.
Researchers said that the findings indicated the severity of the problem in developing nations. They also suggested that alternative strategies should be explored in order to deal with the impact of the diseases.
Dr Harish Nair, who led the study, said: “This study shows that much more could be done to reduce infection and save lives, such as by improving access to hospitals in the developing world, or by ensuring that both boys and girls receive similar healthcare.”