Unexplained Lung Diseases in Children – Who Demands Information From China

Medical workers test samples for COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested information from China regarding the increased occurrence of pneumonia in children in the northern part of the country. The WHO stated in a release on Thursday that China should provide additional information about the cases, their spread, and laboratory results.

On November 13, Chinese authorities held a press conference, reporting an increase in respiratory infections in the People’s Republic. The media also highlighted a clustering of undiagnosed pneumonia cases among children in the region. The WHO notes that it is still unclear whether this is related to the general rise in respiratory diseases, such as COVID-19 and influenza, in China.

The situation inevitably brings to mind the turn of the year 2019/2020, when cases of a mysterious lung disease emerged from China, eventually evolving into the COVID-19 pandemic. China was criticized at that time for not being transparent enough about the initial COVID-19 cases that occurred in the city of Wuhan.

Who Urges China to Curb Respiratory Infections

We have also requested further information on recent trends in the spread of known pathogens such as influenza, SARS-CoV-2, RSV, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, as well as the current burden on health systems,” stated the WHO on X, formerly Twitter. Since mid-October, there has been an increase in flu-like illnesses reported in North China compared to the same period in the past three years.

China’s National Health Commission attributes the rise in such illnesses in the country to the spread of pathogens after the lifting of COVID-19 measures. Similar strong waves of respiratory illnesses have been observed in other countries, including Germany, following the relaxation of pandemic-related restrictions.

The WHO is calling on people in China to adhere to measures preventing respiratory infections. These include, among others, getting vaccinated, maintaining distance from the sick, staying at home when symptomatic, wearing masks, and practicing regular hand hygiene.

Featured Image: China Daily via Reuters.