The World Health Organization said China had shared data on a recent rise in respiratory illnesses among children, a day after the agency said it was seeking information on the possibility of unrelated pneumonia cases. diagnosed in this country.
Chinese data indicates “no detection of unusual or new pathogens,” according to a report. WHO statement THURSDAY. The data, which included laboratory results from infected children, indicated that the increase in cases was the result of known viruses and bacteria, such as influenza and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacteria that usually causes mild illness.
Hospital admissions of children have increased since May, as have outpatient visits, but hospitals have been able to handle the increase, China told the world health agency.
The WHO requested the information after Chinese news reports and social media posts indicated a notable increase in the number of sick children in recent weeks. Parents reported long lines, sometimes eight hours or more, at children’s hospitals. China’s National Health Commission has acknowledged reports of overpopulation.
Some of these reports also caught the attention this week of members of ProMEDa disease tracking site run by the International Society for Infectious Diseases and that health officials monitor for early warnings of potential emerging diseases.
China’s transparency in reporting outbreaks has come under global scrutiny, after it covered up the first cases of the SARS virus in 2003 and the virus that led to the pandemic of coronavirus in 2020. The WHO reprimanded Chinese officials earlier this year for withholding data. which the agency believes could shed light on the origins of the coronavirus.
The WHO issued its official data request a day after a ProMED member shared a news report from Taiwan about a slight increase in the number of sick children in Beijing and Liaoning, a northeastern province of China. China. Chinese authorities had previously publicly acknowledged an increase in respiratory illnesses among children, but the WHO said it was unclear at the time whether the increase was caused by known pathogens.
“A key objective was to identify whether there were ‘undiagnosed pneumonia clusters’ in Beijing and Liaoning, as mentioned in the media,” the WHO statement said.
The WHO said China’s rise in infections occurred earlier in the season than historically expected, but “not unexpected”, given it was the first winter since China lifted lockdowns. strict coronavirus restrictions it imposed in 2020. Other countries have seen similar increases for other diseases. after lifting their Covid controls.