Childhood infectious diseases: Overview

Z. A. Bhutta, M. A. Saeed

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Of the annual burden of 10 million deaths among children under 5 years, a large proportion is associated with infectious diseases. These include 36% of the 4 million newborn deaths due to sepsis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and tetanus. Among the postneonatal deaths due to infections, estimates and uncertainty bounds include: 22% of deaths attributed to diarrhea (14-30%), 21% to pneumonia (14-24%), 9% to malaria (6-13%), and 1% to measles (1-9%). Some 42 countries alone account for almost 90% of the global burden of child mortality. There is now sufficient evidence available on evidence-based interventions that can make a difference. It is estimated that almost two-thirds of these deaths are potentially preventable if interventions can be delivered at scale. Newborn infections and related mortality can be reduced by maternal tetanus toxoid vaccination, clean delivery, cord hygiene, exclusive and early breast-feeding, and prompt diagnosis and therapy. Diarrheal deaths can be prevented by adequate attention to breast-feeding, hand-washing and sanitation strategies, rota virus vaccine, adequate treatment including oral rehydration, appropriate dietary therapy, and oral zinc administration. Similarly, the global burden of pneumonia deaths can be reduced by vaccination strategies for measles, Hib, and pneumococcal disease, timely case detection, and treatment with appropriate antibiotics. © 2008

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Public Health
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780123739605
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Acute respiratory infections
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Child survival
  • Childhood diarrhea
  • Dengue
  • Infections
  • Malaria
  • Newborn sepsis
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Typhoid


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