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China has seen an unexplained rise in pneumonia cases, hospitals overrun with ill youngsters

The children who are impacted are displaying symptoms such as a high temperature and inflammation of the lungs, but they do not have a cough.

A strange pneumonia outbreak that has raced through schools and left hospitals swamped with sick children has put China, which continues to recover from the terrible consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, in danger of another health calamity. Experts in global health are concerned about the issue.

Paediatric hospitals in Beijing and the province of Liaoning are dealing with an excessive quantity of unwell children as a result of this outbreak. Some schools have suspended classes because to the severity of the issue, which is reminiscent of the early days of COVID-19 as both children and staff have become ill.

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The children who are impacted are displaying symptoms such as a high temperature and inflammation of the lungs, but they do not have a cough, which is typical when someone has the flu or a respiratory viral illness like RSV.

A resident in Beijing stated to the Taiwanese news outlet 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.”

On Tuesday, the global illness surveillance network ProMed released a warning regarding children’s undetected pneumonia. Although the current outbreak has not been observed to impact adults, its fast spread among youngsters raises the possibility that school surroundings may be linked to it. The outbreak’s beginning is uncertain.

Following the pneumonia crisis, a video showing individuals in China using face masks was posted by US epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding.

Medical doctors speculate that the common bacterial infection known as “walking pneumonia,” mycoplasma pneumoniae, may be the reason. This illness usually affects younger children. Though it usually results in minor infections, this bacterium can cause more serious diseases which require hospitalisation.

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Particularly since the National Day vacation in early October, Chinese hospitals have seen an upsurge in instances of pneumonia that go undetected. No fatalities have been reported as of yet, despite the severity of the outbreak.

WHO asks for extensive info from China

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially asked for comprehensive data from China over a rise in respiratory ailments and documented paediatric pneumonia clusters.

“It is unclear if these are associated with the overall increase in respiratory infections previously reported by Chinese authorities or separate events,” said the paper.

The global health organisation released a statement on November 13 after Chinese officials from the National Health Commission announced a rise in the prevalence of respiratory illnesses in China at a press conference.

According to the WHO, the Chinese government ascribed the rise to the relaxation of Covid-19 prohibitions and the spread of recognised diseases such the influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, and Covid-19 virus.

According to the report, Chinese officials emphasised the necessity of improving illness surveillance in hospitals and community settings and bolstering the ability of the healthcare system to handle patients.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended that people in China take certain steps to lower their risk of respiratory illnesses. These steps include getting vaccinated, avoiding sick people, staying at home when sick, getting tested and receiving medical attention when necessary, wearing masks when necessary, making sure there is adequate ventilation, and regularly washing your hands.

Through the International Health Regulations process, the global health agency sought more test results, together with additional epidemiologic and clinical information from these reported clusters among children, on November 22.

“We have also requested further information about recent trends in the circulation of known pathogens including influenza, SARS-CoV-2, RSV and mycoplasma pneumoniae, and the current burden on healthcare systems,” it said.

WHO noted that through its current technological collaborations and networks in China, it was in contact with physicians and scientists. The organisation added that it will keep sending out information.

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Dr. Shubhangi Jha

Avid reader, infrequent writer, evolving

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