Report on pneumonia outbreak among children in China prompts WHO to request ‘detailed information’ | health

Report on pneumonia outbreak among children in China prompts WHO to request ‘detailed information’ |  health

People walk in the street with masks in Beijing, China, on February 15, 2023. – Photo: Archive/Mark Schiefelbein/AP

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday (22) that it had asked the Chinese authorities for “detailed information” about reports of an outbreak of pneumonia among children.

Reported cases in various cities in China prompted a major surveillance program from the International Society for Infectious Diseases to issue an alert expressing “concern” and also demanding “definitive information” about the extent of the disease’s spread.

As of the last update of this report, there have been no reports of deaths, but rather a sudden increase in hospitalizations of children in Beijing and Liaoning, two regions 800 kilometers apart.

According to the World Health Organization, the National Health Commission reported the increase in cases of respiratory diseases in China on the thirteenth of this month. Local authorities linked this increase to the lifting of restrictions imposed on Covid-19 and the increase in the spread of already infectious agents. Known diseases, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and SARS-CoV-2, among others.

The World Health Organization says the media and the International Society for Infectious Diseases’ Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) have reported “clusters” of undiagnosed pneumonia in children in northern China.

Clusters are groups of similar cases of a disease in a specific geographic area and time period.

“It is not clear whether these are related to the general increase in cases of respiratory infections previously reported by Chinese authorities or whether they are separate events,” the WHO says.

“Since mid-October, northern China has reported an increase in influenza-like illnesses compared with the same period in the previous three years. China has systems in place to obtain information on trends in influenza, influenza-like illnesses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS–the WHO said. : “CoV-2, and reporting to platforms such as the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.”

A report from FTV News, a Taiwanese news outlet, was cited in an alert sent by ProMED. – Image: Reproduction

The alert sent on Tuesday (21) by ProMED, from the International Society for Infectious Diseases, summarizes a report published by FTV News, a Taiwanese news outlet. In addition to the summary, ProMED provides commentary from Dan Silver, ProMED rapporteur, who says it is too early to link the scenario to the emergence of another pandemic.

“(Reports indicate) a widespread outbreak of an undiagnosed respiratory illness in several regions of China, with Beijing and Liaoning approximately 800 kilometers apart. It is unclear when this outbreak began, as it would be unusual for such a large number of people to be affected.” Children The report does not state that adults were affected, suggesting some exposure in schools, the rapporteur wrote. “ProMED awaits more specific information about the causes and extent of the spread of this troubling disease in China.”

Global health monitoring

In an interview with g1Luana Araujo, an infectious disease specialist, recalls that in the past, ProMED was responsible for sharing initial information about the Ebola and Covid outbreaks, even before we had any official information.

The infectious disease specialist states that despite the monitoring, the alert is not a reason for panic or immediate concern about a new pandemic.

“(The information) is scant so far. There is no confirmation of the cause of the disease, just talk,” Luana warns. “Indeed, the moment is a reaffirmation of what we know to be valid and valuable for infectious conditions in general: the trinity of hand hygiene, vaccination and information will not be overestimated.”

The expert indicates that several factors may be linked to the outbreak of the disease. “In terms of the causative agent (the virus that causes the disease), what is known is that we have increased circulation, and some changes in the patterns of this circulation, for different factors at this moment – ​​largely due to forced isolation in critical cases.” . Pandemic period,” he analyzes Luana.

“In these cases in China, we are not talking about deaths. We are talking about an increase in hospitalizations. This is crucial, because it gives us clues about the behavior of these agents: can they be prevented with vaccines (and has this population been vaccinated? Reducing the chance A tragic outcome?) Or is she really limiting herself? asks the specialist.

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