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HomeWORLD NEWSNo 'Unusual Virus' Behind Pneumonia Outbreak, China Tells WHO

No ‘Unusual Virus’ Behind Pneumonia Outbreak, China Tells WHO


As a mysterious pneumonia outbreak overwhelms hospitals in China, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday said Beijing has informed it that “no unusual or new pathogens” were detected in the cases. In a statement, the WHO said China attributed the rise in flu-like illnesses to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, arrival of winter and circulation of known pathogens such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2.

The WHO statement comes after it held a teleconference with Chinese health authorities. The UN health agency asked residents in China to get vaccinated and wear masks even as it asked Beijing for more data on the cases.

“Since mid-October 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been monitoring data from Chinese surveillance systems that have been showing an increase in respiratory illness in children in northern China,” the WHO statement said.

“Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations, including in Beijing and Liaoning, but only the aforementioned general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens,” the WHO statement said.

China also informed WHO that the rise in respiratory illnesses haven’t resulted in the patient loads exceeding hospital capacities.

After the WHO’s nudge, officials of China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said they were paying close attention to the diagnosis and care of children with respiratory illnesses, a report published in state-run Xinhua news agency said.

The pneumonia outbreak has overwhelmed paediatric hospitals in Beijing, Liaoning and other places. While there has been no indication of the infections being deadly, the children are mainly seeing symptoms like high fever and development of pulmonary nodules.

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