Mysterious Pneumonia Outbreak In China Sends Alarm Bells Ringing, WHO Advises Precautionary Steps

Reports of respiratory illness spreading in the north of China have sent alarm bells ringing as the country has reported an increase in “influenza-like illness” since mid-October as compared to the same period last year. This mysterious pneumonia has been afflicting largely children, reportedly. “WHO has made an official request to China for detailed information on an increase in respiratory illnesses and reported clusters of pneumonia in children,” the UN health body said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reports have mentioned a worrying development wherein hospitals are getting filled with sick children who have symptoms of respiratory illness. According to Beijing’s National Health Commission (NHC), which addressed reporters last week, the spike in these respiratory illnesses was due to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. They also attributed other reasons for the spurt, including the circulation of known pathogens, including influenza and common bacterial infections that affect children. “Chinese authorities attributed this increase to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens such as influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae (a common bacterial infection which typically affects younger children), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19),” WHO men

Pneumonia-Like Cases Reported In Children In China

According to some reports, with a lot of children and teachers falling sick, some schools have suspended classes, triggering fear as it’s scarily reminiscent of the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak. Several news reports quoted a citizen from Beijing who reportedly told the Taiwanese news website FTV News, “Many, many (children) are hospitalised. They don’t cough and have no symptoms. They just have a high temperature and many develop pulmonary nodules.”

Also Read: Pneumonia: Symptoms To Watch Out For And How Growing Pollution Can Worsen Lung Health

Reports also say that the publicly available surveillance system ProMed – which conducts global reporting of infectious disease outbreaks – has issued an alert regarding this “undiagnosed pneumonia” in children. It was this ProMed that had alerted about SARs-CoV-2 in December 2019, well before the pandemic had the entire world in its grip.

WHO’s Advice For China

While WHO has sought more information, it has recommended that “people in China follow measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness, which include recommended vaccination; keeping distance from people who are ill; staying home when ill; getting tested and medical care as needed; wearing masks as appropriate; ensuring good ventilation; and regular hand-washing.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button