Lower respiratory tract infections

This section presents data and statistics on hospitalisations for lower respiratory tract infections (including pneumonia, bronchitis and bronchiolitis) for children aged 04 years. You can download factsheets from the Downloads box.

Second-hand smoke exposure [1] and household crowding [2] increase the risk of lower respiratory tract infections.  Indoor dampness and mould are also associated with an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections and bronchitis [3]. 

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Lower respiratory tract infections can cause death
Over 9000 hospitalisations for lower respiratory tract infections in young children in 2016
Children under 1 have the highest hospitalisation rates
Pacific, Māori and children living in more deprived areas have higher rates
Tairawhiti and Lakes DHBs had the highest hospitalisation rates
Information about this data

Lower respiratory tract infections can cause death

Each year in New Zealand, a small number of children die from lower respiratory tract infections.  In 2014, five children aged 0–4 years died from lower respiratory tract infections (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Number of deaths from lower respiratory tract infections, children aged 0–4 years, 2001–2014
LRTI deaths  
Source: New Zealand Mortality Collection

Over 9000 hospitalisations for lower respiratory tract infections in young children in 2016

In 2016 there were 9262 hospitalisations for lower respiratory tract infections among children aged 04 years.

The rate has increased from 2815 per 100,000 in 2001, to 3050 per 100,000 in 2016 (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Lower respiratory tract infection hospitalisation rate, children aged 04 years, 20012016

LRTI time trends

Children under 1 have the highest hospitalisation rates

In 2016, children aged 0–12 months had a much higher hospitalisation rate than children aged 1–4 years (Figure 3). 

Figure 3: Lower respiratory tract infection hospitalisation rate, children aged 0–4 years, by age group, 2016

LRTI age

Pacific, Māori and children living in more deprived areas have higher rates

Hospitalisations were highest among Pacific and Māori children (Figure 4).

Figure 4:  Lower respiratory tract infection hospitalisation rate, children aged 0–4 years, by ethnic group, 2016
LRTI ethnic

Children living in the most deprived areas had a much higher hospitalisation rate for lower respiratory tract infections than other children (Figure 5).  

Figure 5: Lower respiratory tract infection hospitalisation rate, children aged 0–4 years, by NZDep2013 quintile, 2016
LRTI nzdep

Tairawhiti and Lakes DHBs had the highest hospitalisation rates

Tairawhiti and Lakes DHBs had the highest hospitalisation rates for lower respiratory tract infections in 2016.  

See the factsheet for more details (in the Downloads box).

Information about this data

Lower respiratory tract infection hospitalisations

Source: National Minimum Dataset, Ministry of Health

Definition: Acute and semi-acute hospitalisations with pneumonia (ICD-10AM J12–J16, J18), bronchitis (J20), bronchiolitis (J21) or unspecified acute lower respiratory tract infection (J22) as the primary diagnosis, for children aged 0–4 years.  Analyses excluded overseas visitors, deaths, and transfers within and between hospitals. Rates have been presented per 100,000 children.  

For more information, see the metadata sheet (in the Downloads box).  

References

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2007. Children and Secondhand Smoke Exposure. Excerpts from The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. 

2. Baker MG, McDonald A, Zhang J, Howden-Chapman P. 2013. Infectious diseases attributable to household crowding in New Zealand: A systematic review and burden of disease estimate. Wellington: He Kainga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme, University of Otago. 

3. Fisk W, Eliseeva E, Mendell M. 2010. Association of residential dampness and mold with respiratory tract infections and bronchitis: a meta-analysis. Environmental Health 9(1): 72. doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-9-72