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The World Health Organization receives information from China regarding groups of respiratory sickness.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stated on Thursday that Chinese health authorities have shared the necessary information about a rise in respiratory sickness and outbreaks of pneumonia in children. They have not found any uncommon or new pathogens.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) requested further details from China regarding reports of unexplained pneumonia cases in children in northern China, as documented by organizations such as the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases.

According to the regulation, China promptly replied to the WHO within 24 hours. The WHO had requested epidemiological and clinical data, as well as laboratory findings, through the International Health Regulations system.

Experts in disease spread have cautioned that as China enters its initial winter without strict zero-Covid measures, there may be a decrease in natural immunity to respiratory viruses, resulting in a rise in cases.

After Covid restrictions were lifted, countries such as the US and UK saw a significant increase in respiratory viral infections during the first winter. This was due to a decrease in natural immunity among the population. Lockdowns also resulted in young children being exposed to common illnesses at a later age.

China’s National Health Commission held a press conference on November 13 to discuss the rise in respiratory illness cases. According to the health authority, these cases are related to pathogens like influenza and mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacterial infection commonly found in young children.

Earlier on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that it had requested additional information from China regarding pneumonia clusters in children in northern China. The organization emphasized that such requests are standard procedure.

Last month, a top hospital in China observed a significant rise in cases of mycoplasma pneumoniae and other respiratory illnesses among children in September and October. The Beijing Friendship hospital stated that the number of daily visits to the pediatric department for outpatient and emergency care exceeded 1,600, largely due to the fast spread of respiratory infections.

However, according to Sixth Tone, a local media source, there has been a decrease in the number of children who have been reported as infected in various provinces in recent weeks.

On Monday, Wang Quanyi, the vice director of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, announced that mycoplasma pneumonia is no longer one of the top three respiratory infections affecting children in Beijing.

According to Wang, the presence of various pathogens circulating simultaneously will result in an increase in the total number of infections. As a result, healthcare facilities must be equipped to handle the added pressure.

According to Wang, the three-year period of implementing zero-Covid measures may have reduced people’s usual immunity against flu-like viruses. This could potentially result in a surge of infections during the winter season.

According to Reuters, Ben Cowling, a researcher in the field of epidemiology at Hong Kong University, stated that the recent increase in cases may be attributed to a combination of chance and a buildup of “immunity debt” from milder winter outbreaks over the past three years.

The government-run news source has recognized the rise in pneumonia cases among kids, but emphasized that the majority of cases are not severe. They urge parents to take preventative measures, including vaccinations if needed, frequent hand-washing, wearing masks, and staying home when sick, to prevent further spread of the illness.

Further investigation carried out by Chi Hui Lin

Source: theguardian.com