China Battles Pneumonia Outbreak

Last week, according to reports, the largest pediatric hospital in Tianjin broke a record as more than 13,000 children came to outpatient and emergency departments…reports Asian Lite News

Hospitals in Beijing and northern China are grappling with a rise in respiratory illnesses among children as the country enters its first winter after easing stringent COVID-19 restrictions nearly a year ago, CNN reported.

Wait times to consult doctors stretch for hours, with hundreds of patients waiting in queues at some children’s hospitals in major cities of northern China, CNN reported.

An official at the Beijing Children’s Hospital on Tuesday said that the current average of more than 7,000 daily patients “far exceeds the hospital’s capacity,” CNN reported citing state media.

On Saturday, the largest pediatric hospital in nearby Tianjin broke a record as more than 13,000 children came to outpatient and emergency departments, CNN cited a local state-run outlet.

Health officials in Beijing and other major cities across northern China called typical seasonal illnesses, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as mycoplasma pneumonia as driving causes.

The rise in cases in northern China comes at a time when there is a rise in seasonal respiratory infections around the northern hemisphere, including in the United States, where RSV is spreading at “unprecedented” levels among children.

However, the situation in China raised global concern after the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday asked China to share more information on the rise in respiratory illnesses and “reported clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children,” citing a post from open-source surveillance system ProMED, CNN reported.

Following a pressing demand from the World Health Organisation to reveal more information on the surge in respiratory illnesses among children, China said there is no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens.

Some of these increases are occurring earlier in the season than usual, although this is not surprising given the easing of COVID-19 limitations, as seen in other nations.

“No changes in the disease presentation were reported by the Chinese health authorities. Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations, including in Beijing and Liaoning, but only the aforementioned general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens,” the WHO official press release read.

On November 23, the Global Health Body held a teleconference with Chinese health officials from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and the Beijing Children’s Hospital, which was facilitated by the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention, during which the requested data, indicating an increase in outpatient consultations and hospital admissions of children due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, were provided, the release added.

They further stated that the rise in respiratory illness has not resulted in patient loads exceeding hospital capacities. The Chinese authorities advised that enhanced outpatient and inpatient surveillance has been implemented since mid-October for respiratory illnesses covering a broad spectrum of viruses and bacteria, which also for the first time, includes mycoplasma pneumonia.

On November 22, WHO requested additional epidemiologic and clinical information, as well as laboratory results from these reported clusters among children, through the International Health Regulations mechanism.

The WHO 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.” WHO is also in contact with clinicians and scientists through our existing technical partnerships and networks in China,” according to the release.

Since mid-October, northern China has reported an increase in influenza-like illnesses compared to the same period in the previous three years, WHO said in the press release. China has systems in place to capture information on trends in influenza, influenza-like illnesses, RSV, and SARS-CoV-2 and report to platforms such as the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.

The WHO is closely monitoring the situation and is in close contact with national authorities in China, according to a WHO release. It recommended that people in China follow measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness, which include recommended vaccination, keeping distance from people who are ill, staying home when ill, getting tested and medical care as needed, wearing masks as appropriate, ensuring good ventilation; and regular hand-washing. (ANI)

India Taking Appropriate Steps: Health Minister

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Saturday that the ongoing situation of the pneumonia outbreak in China is being keenly observed by the health institutions in India and all appropriate actions are being taken.

Speaking to media, Mansukh Mandaviya said, “The government is continuously paying attention to the situation of pneumonia spreading within China. ICMR and the Director General of Health Services are keeping an eye on it and taking necessary action”.

Notably, Media and ProMED reported on November 21 clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children in northern China.

Commenting on the same, Dr Ajay Shukla of RML Hospital informed that till now, there has not been much impact on India due to the same.

“There are reports in the media that there has been a surge in respiratory problems among small children in China. WHO is concerned about this and is trying to seek details from the Government of China about it. Some experts are saying that this might be the case of a bacterial infection named Mycoplasma pneumonia. We cannot say much unless details are received. This might be a repercussion due to a weakness in immunity because of lockdown. Unless details are received, we cannot say anything. The whole world is observing this situation with seriousness. Till now, there has not been much impact on India. If anything is reported in India, we will have to take precautions,” said Dr Shukla while speaking to ANI.

It is pertinent to note that hospitals in Beijing and northern China are grappling with a rise in respiratory illnesses among children as the country enters its first winter after easing stringent COVID-19 restrictions nearly a year ago, CNN reported.

Chinese authorities from the National Health Commission, at a press conference on November 13, reported an increase in the incidence of respiratory diseases in China. (ANI)

ALSO READ: ‘Tears for Gaza’ attracts crowds in Tokyo

[soliloquy id="31272"]
[soliloquy id="31269"]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *