Pneumonia and other lower respiratory infections are the third leading cause of death worldwide. In 2004, pneumonia and lower respiratory infections were responsible for 4.2 million deaths, or 7.1% of all deaths globally (World Health Organization 2008). Notably, these infections of the lung affect the old as well as the young and account for nearly 10% of all years of life lost globally. Of the 4 million people who die every year from pneumonia, approximately 2 million are children under the age of 5. Lower respiratory infections are the leading cause of death in low-income countries and are the leading cause of death for children under 5 worldwide (World Health Organization 2008). Significant discrepancies exist between developing and developed countries with regard to childhood mortality from pneumonia: for every child that dies of pneumonia in an industrialized country, 2000 children die of pneumonia in developed countries. While there are similarities in adult mortality rates for hospital-treated pneumonia between developing and developed countries, there are important differences in age distributions. The median age at death from hospital-treated pneumonia among Kenyan adults is 33 years; in contrast, the age at death from hospital-treated pneumonia in more developed countries is over 65 years (Scott et al. 2000). Pneumonia is extremely common; each year, there are 429 million episodes of illness worldwide as a result of lower respiratory infections. Of these cases, 131 million illnesses occur in Africa and 134 million illnesses occur in Southeast Asia (World Health Organization 2008). Antibiotics are the main defense against community-acquired and hospital-acquired bacterial pneumonias. However, bacterial organisms form resistant biofilms within the lower respiratory tract, rendering many antibiotics ineffective. If a lower respiratory infection cannot be successfully treated, the infection will eventually overwhelm the system and result in death. New biomaterial formulations of antibiotics are currently being developed to penetrate biofilms in the respiratory tract and destroy pathogenic microbes. These biomaterials may increase the efficacy of antimicrobial regimens, so that fewer adults and children will succumb to lower respiratory disease.


Klebsiella Pneumoniae Lower Respiratory Infection Liposomal Formulation Bacterial Pneumonia Pneumocystis Jiroveci 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Central Research and Development, DuPont CompanyWilmingtonUSA

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