Unusual or Novel Pathogens
The WHO reports that there have been no unusual nor novel pathogens in clusters of child pneumonias in China.
According to the WHO, Beijing ascribed an increase in flu-related diseases to the relaxation of Covid restrict. This information was based on inquiry into relevant medical details surrounding the cases.
It also advised citizens in China to be careful, taking jabs, masks, etc.
In recent days, local media has indicated that hospitals were overwhelmed.
On Wednesday, WHO made a statement requesting China’s government to provide more details about media and ProMed – global outbreak surveillance systems claims that reported cases of undiagnosed pneumonia in children have been recorded.
Pneumonia is the common word for an inflammation or infection of the lungs. A number of viruses, bacteria and fungi could cause it.
In response to WHO’s call, the state-run Xinhua news agency carried an article where officials of China’s NHC stated that they were monitoring closely the diagnosis and treatment of the children with respiratory disorders.
In their Thursday statement, the WHO says China did not find any “new or unusual” pathogens that could be behind this situation. According to them, it is caused by “several well-known viruses”.
The WHO noted that for the last 3 years, there was an increase in “influenza- like illness” in northern China since October.
“Some of these increases come earlier than normally seen, though nothing surprising would be expected considering the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions just like any other country” it was explained.
The WHO has stated that it will closely monitor the issue and keep in touch with Chinese authorities.
Many people start to feel nervous each time they hear about the mention of China together with a wave of infection because there are many flashbacks to COVID pandemic that happened during last few years. Obviously, one may claim that WHO is right in asking for clarification.
Moreover, the WHO can request additional data related to cases of an aggregation of diseases in particular states. This is what they nearly do daily.
The international health regulators workforce is comprised of WHO specialists who analyze thousands of newspapers articles and internal surveillance data sent by countries every day. Experts decide if any additional data is required for the event to be considered as a potentially global health hazard.
However, it is rarely made public that the information being requested from someone is more. Previously, this has been done privately by the WHO to national health officials of that particular nation.
UN’s agency has without doubt recognized that individuals would take those viruses reported from china lightly considering last year was a Covid-laden year. Post pandemic, the WHO also hopes to enhance its transparency.
In response, the UKHSA said that it was monitoring the situation.
Last week, the Chinese NHC said there had been a rise in several respiratory diseases across the country: specific diseases that mostly affect young children including mycoplasma pneumoniae, RSV, flu etc.
The officials attributed the rise to a lift of covid restrictions.
When the pandemics eased up, other countries such as the UK, US, experienced an increase in flu-like illnesses.
“China is likely experiencing a major wave of childhood respiratory infections now because this is the first winter after their lengthy lockdown,” said Prof Francois Balloux of the University College London Genetics Institute.
Prof Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia (UEA) stated that there is now insufficient data to establish a definitive diagnosis of what is causing the diseases.
“Overall, this does not sound to me like an epidemic caused by a novel [new] virus,” he continued. If that’s the case, I’d expect to see a lot more infections in adults. The rare illnesses documented in adults point to pre-existing immunity from previous exposure.”