The global burden of respiratory disease

Thomas Ferkol, Dean Schraufnagel

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

429 Scopus citations


The Forum of International Respiratory Societies has released a report entitled Respiratory Disease in the World: Realities of Today - Opportunities for Tomorrow. The report identifies five conditions that primarily contribute to the global burden of respiratory disease (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and lung cancer), and offers an action plan to prevent and treat those diseases. It describes the staggering magnitude of the global burden of lung disease: hundreds of millions of people suffer and four million people die prematurely fromrespiratory diseases each year. The situation is not hopeless, becausemostmajor respiratory illnesses are avoidable. Much of the disease burden can be mitigated by reducing exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, restraining tobacco use, and relieving urban overcrowding. Implementation of the strategies described in the Forum of International Respiratory Societies respiratory diseases report would have a profound effect on respiratory health, reduce economic costs, and enhance health equality in the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-406
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Prevention and control
  • Public health
  • Respiratory tract diseases


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