WHO Seeks Further Information from China Regarding Mysterious Pneumonia Outbreak

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Beijing has been asked by the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide further details regarding an unexplained pneumonia outbreak that is primarily affecting children in northern China.

Compared to the same period in the preceding three years, when stringent measures were in place as part of its zero-COVID strategy, China has been witnessing an increase in cases of influenza-like illnesses.

The provinces of Beijing as well as Liaoning are the epicenter of this outbreak, with pediatric hospitals dealing with an unprecedented volume of sick children. 

So much so that several schools have had to suspend classes due to illness among both teachers and students.

The affected children are exhibiting symptoms like a high fever and lung inflammation, yet they do not have the typical cough that is associated with the flu or respiratory viral illnesses like RSV.

Chinese authorities attribute the rise in respiratory illnesses to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, leading to the resurgence of common pathogens like respiratory syncytial virus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, influenza, and bacterial infections.

Additionally, the presence of the COVID-19 virus contributes to the increased health concerns.

Possible Outbreak of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

WHO-Seeks-Further-Information-From-China-Regarding-Mysterious-Pneumonia-Outbreak

Beijing has been asked by the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide further details regarding an unexplained pneumonia outbreak that is primarily affecting children in northern China.

Medical professionals speculate that “walking pneumonia,” or mycoplasma pneumoniae, an infection caused by bacteria that usually affects younger children, could be the cause.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that Mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria often lead to mild respiratory infections but can also cause more severe lung infections, necessitating hospital care.

Undiagnosed pneumonia wasn’t directly discussed at the NHC press conference, but one speaker hinted at a noticeable rise in respiratory illnesses compared to three years ago. 

Beijing’s current severe cold spell, with temperatures predicted to drop well below freezing, aligns with an increase in respiratory infections, as noted by Wang Quanyi, deputy director and chief epidemiological expert at the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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