What is the mysterious pneumonia outbreak gripping China?

China has been hit by a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has left hospitals overwhelmed with sick children. The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an advisory and is seeking more details about this alarming situation.

Reports suggest that the affected children do not exhibit symptoms or cough. However, they do have high temperatures and pulmonary nodules, raising concerns about the severity and nature of the illness. The exact date when the outbreak started remains unknown.

The affected individuals exhibit symptoms of respiratory illness, causing concern among health authorities. The outbreak has raised questions about the potential spread of a new pathogen or the resurgence of existing respiratory diseases.

Reports from Beijing and Liaoning indicate that hospitals in these areas are struggling to cope with the sudden influx of sick children suffering from pneumonia. The fact that these locations are approximately 800km apart suggests that the outbreak is more widespread than initially thought. Some schools have even been forced to close as teachers and students have been infected.

WHO’s call¬†

The WHO has requested detailed information from China about the increase in respiratory illnesses, as well as reported clusters of pneumonia in children. The organisation remains in contact with clinicians and scientists in China, using existing technical partnerships and networks to gather crucial data.  They are seeking details on the recent trends in the circulation of known pathogens, including influenza, SARS-CoV-2 (the virus responsible for COVID-19), RSV affecting infants, and Mycoplasma pneumonia. Additionally, WHO is interested in understanding the degree of overcrowding in the healthcare system.

The WHO has called on China to adhere to measures aimed at reducing the risk of respiratory illness. These measures include getting vaccinated, maintaining distance from sick individuals, staying home when feeling unwell, seeking medical care as necessary, wearing masks when appropriate, ensuring good ventilation, and practicing regular hand-washing.

ProMed Alerts the Public

ProMed, a publicly available surveillance system that reports global infectious disease outbreaks, has issued an alert about the “undiagnosed pneumonia” affecting children. The ProMed had previously alerted the world about SARs-CoV-2 in December 2019, before the pandemic swept across the globe.