No new virus behind China pneumonia outbreak: US CDC

Washington: The recent pneumonia outbreak in China among young children is not caused by any new virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even as Ohio becomes the first US state to report a similar uptick in cases.

Asking the public to not be alarmed over the spike in respiratory illness in China, Director Mandy Cohen said it is related to existing pathogens like Covid, flu, RSV and mycoplasma.

“We believe there is no new or novel pathogen,” Cohen said during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing.

“These are related to existing pathogens — Covid, flu, RSV and mycoplasma, a bacterium that can infect the lungs.”

Cohen noted that the outbreaks are the result of China’s strict Covid lockdowns, which meant that the usual group of respiratory viruses weren’t circulating and children weren’t able to build up immunity defences.

The surge of respiratory illnesses is so far concentrated in northern China. There have been reports of hospitals being overhauled with sick children.

Meanwhile, Ohio has become the first US state to report a mysterious uptick in paediatric pneumonia as cases surge in China.

In a statement, the Warren County Health District reported 142 cases of the illness among children since August. However, officials do not think it is a new respiratory disease, but “rather a large uptick in the number of pneumonia cases normally seen at one time”, the statement said.

The illness has spread across multiple school districts and the average age of those fallen ill is 8 years, the local health district said.

The most common symptoms included cough, fever and fatigue. Among the pathogens recovered included Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pnuemoniae and Adenovirus. The health authorities called for taking necessary precautions such as washing hands, and staying home when ill.

Separately, the Netherlands and Denmark have also reported cases.

IANS

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