TNI WORLD DESK: In what is being called as a major concern of health emergency, in China, a mysterious outbreak of pneumonia is causing alarm as hospitals, particularly pediatric facilities in Beijing and Liaoning province, grapple with an influx of sick children. The situation has led to the suspension of classes in some schools, mirroring the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike typical respiratory illnesses, affected children are presenting with high fever and lung inflammation, notably without cough symptoms.
According to an India Today report, Concerns about the outbreak has promoted an n alert from ProMed, an international disease surveillance platform, suggesting a potential link to school environments due to the rapid spread among children. While the onset of the outbreak is unclear, speculation among medical professionals’ points to mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterial infection known as “walking pneumonia,” which primarily affects younger children. This pathogen usually causes mild infections but can lead to severe conditions requiring hospitalization.
Despite the intensity of the outbreak, no deaths have been reported so far, and cases have been on the rise since China’s National Day holiday in early October.
The report further mentioned that the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially requested detailed information from China on the surge in respiratory illnesses and pneumonia clusters in children. Chinese authorities attribute the increase to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens like influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, and the virus causing Covid-19.
The WHO has advised the Chinese population to take measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness, including recommended vaccinations, maintaining distance from ill individuals, staying home when unwell, testing, when necessary, appropriate mask usage, ensuring good ventilation, and regular handwashing. On November 22, the global health agency requested additional epidemiologic and clinical information, along with laboratory results, through the International Health Regulations mechanism. The WHO remains in contact with Chinese clinicians and scientists through existing technical partnerships, promising continued updates as the situation unfolds.