UK sees spike in pneumonia cases after outbreak hits China

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Public Health Wales (PHW) has claimed there’s an unusually high number of pneumonia cases. As many as 49 children in the area fell ill with mycoplasma pneumonia, from April to September, according to The Sun.

A PHW spokesperson told The Sun: “In common with many other countries, Wales has seen an increased number of reports of mycoplasma pneumoniae this year compared to the period between 2020 to 2022. Although the reasons for this re-emergence are not clear at present, we are monitoring case numbers.”

Furthermore, a study, published in The Lancet, reported an additional 12 cases in England during the same time frame. This comes as hospitals in northern China and Beijing have seen thousands of children coming down with respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia.

While it is normal to see a rise in respiratory infections at this time of year, the number of cases sparked concern. However, experts believe the current situation in China isn’t a global threat.

Hospitals in the country are reported to be “overwhelmed” with sick children, while schools are being disinfected. The World Health Organization (WHO) asked China to provide more information on the emerging cases.

Chinese officials have denied suggestions that the outbreak is down to a new virus. Fortunately, no new pathogen has been detected so far and there have also been no cases where children appear to be much sicker than normal.

Similarly to Wales, China reported seeing an increase in pneumonia due to the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae. The country is also seeing a rise in influenza, adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The situation currently appears to mirror what happened in many other countries last year. CNN wellness medical expert Dr Leana Wen said: “Much of this illness was attributed to the end of COVID-19 mitigation measures. During the peak of the pandemic, respiratory illnesses declined sharply.”

The doctor explained that China lifted its mitigation measures later than most other countries, which could explain the current spike. “It makes sense that, in the first full winter since ending “zero Covid,” they would experience a rise in respiratory illnesses like that which much of the world experienced,” she added

China isn’t the only country seeing a surge in pneumonia cases. Countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Singapore, also reported a spike.

The good news is that mycoplasma pneumonia normally causes a mild flu-like illness. Tell-tale signs tend to include a fever, cough, sore throat, headache and tiredness.

Once someone becomes infected with the bacteria, symptoms usually appear after one to four weeks. In some cases, it can cause more severe illness, which can require a course of antibiotics.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said earlier this week that it is “closely monitoring” the situation. Professor Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive, said: “We need to keep an open mind about the cause of any increased reporting of clusters of disease, including of this illness in Chinese children.

“UKHSA is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work with international partners to assess the emerging information as it becomes available.”

Post source: Daily Express

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