Jun 17, 2024

Child Health Crisis: China’s Mysterious Pneumonia Outbreak, WHO seeks details

This outbreak’s severity has also led to the suspension of classes in some schools, as students and teachers have fallen sick, a situation very similar to the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak

The severity of the situation has prompted the suspension of classes in certain schools, echoing the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, as both students and teachers have fallen ill

China was still recovering from the horrific COVID-19 outbreak, but now they are forced to face another increasing health emergency among children

A reportedly mysterious pneumonia outbreak has spread in Chinese schools, resulting in hospitals being overwhelmed with sick children

Beijing and Liaoning province are epicentres of this mysterious pneumonia outbreak

In the wake of grappling with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, China is now confronting another health emergency, this time among children. A mysterious pneumonia outbreak has surged in Chinese schools, overwhelming hospitals and eliciting serious apprehension from global health experts.

Epicenters of the outbreak have been identified in Beijing and Liaoning province, where hospitals are inundated with sick children exhibiting symptoms akin to pneumonia. The severity of the situation has prompted the suspension of classes in certain schools, echoing the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, as both students and teachers have fallen ill.

Affected children are experiencing high fever and lung inflammation, distinct from typical pneumonia symptoms as there is no cough. These symptoms are reminiscent of flu or respiratory virus diseases such as RSV.

A resident of Beijing shared with Taiwanese news website FTV News, “Many, many (children) are hospitalized. They don’t cough and have no symptoms. They just have a high temperature, and many develop pulmonary nodules.”

Despite the surge in cases, there have been no reported deaths thus far. In early October, hospitals across China observed a significant rise in undiagnosed pneumonia cases, coinciding with the National Day holiday.

On Tuesday, the international disease surveillance platform ProMed issued an alert regarding the undiagnosed pneumonia affecting children. The cause behind the outbreak remains unclear, and although adults appear unaffected, the rapid spread among children suggests a potential link to school environments.

A video shared by Eric Feigl-Ding, a U.S. epidemiologist, depicted people in China wearing face masks in response to the pneumonia outbreak.

Medical professionals speculate that the culprit behind the outbreak could be mycoplasma pneumoniae, commonly known as “walking pneumonia,” a bacterial infection typically afflicting younger children. While the pathogen typically causes mild infections, severe cases can lead to hospitalization.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reached out to China for details regarding the increasing number of respiratory illnesses and reported pneumonia clusters in children. The WHO’s China office labeled the situation as a “routine” check and requested information on trends in the circulation of known pathogens, including influenza, SARS-CoV-2, RSV, and mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Chinese authorities from the National Health Commission reported an increase in respiratory disease incidence during a press conference on November 13. The authorities attributed the rise to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens, including influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, and the virus causing COVID-19, according to Reuters

 

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