Bratislava, Slovakia – Poland and Slovakia have among the highest death rates from pneumonia in the EU, Eurostat data shows.
More than 130,000 deaths from pneumonia in the EU
In 2016, the latest year available, more than 130,000 people died from pneumonia in the EU, accounting for around 3% of all deaths that year.
On average, there were around 26 pneumonia-linked deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, with the lowest rates found in a number of regions in Finland, Greece and Italy, as well as Hungary and Austria. In contrast, the mortality rate was the highest in Portugal (from 62 deaths per 100,000 to 208, depending on the region) and three regions in the U.K. (60 to 70 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants).
Poland and Slovakia among most vulnerable countries
Poles and Slovaks also count among the most vulnerable to pneumonia-related deaths. Three Polish regions report among the highest mortality rates: the capital Mozawieckie region (71 deaths / 100,000), Pomorskie and Lodzkie (both 63 / 100,000). The average nation-wide mortality rate in Poland stands at 45 per 100,000, nearly double the EU average and one of the highest among European countries.
Only Portugal (56 per 100,000), the U.K. (51) and Slovakia (50) have a higher mortality rate. The Czech Republic (31 per 100,000) also stands above the EU average, while Hungary (12) reports one of the lowest pneumonia-related mortality rates in the bloc.
A respiratory disease that primarily affects children
An acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs, pneumonia in the single largest infectious cause of death among children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most prevalent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, pneumonia killed over 800,000 children under the age of 5 worldwide in 2017.
Although it may be linked to pre-existing illnesses, such as symptomatic HIV infections and measles, risks of pneumonia can increase due to a number of environmental factors, including air pollution and parental smoking.