China, still grappling with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, finds itself facing another potential health crisis. A mysterious outbreak of pneumonia has swept through schools, overwhelming hospitals with sick children and raising alarm bells among global health experts.
The epicenters of this outbreak are Beijing and Liaoning province, where pediatric hospitals are now inundated with a surge of sick children. The severity of the situation has even led to the suspension of classes in some schools, as both students and teachers have fallen ill. It is a haunting echo of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The affected children are exhibiting symptoms such as high fever and lung inflammation, but notably, no cough, which is typically associated with flu or respiratory virus diseases like RSV.
On Tuesday, ProMed, an international disease surveillance platform, issued an alert regarding this undiagnosed pneumonia outbreak among children. The exact origins of this outbreak remain unclear, and while it has not been reported to affect adults, the rapid spread among children suggests a potential connection to school environments.
In the midst of this pneumonia outbreak, a video shared by US epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding shows people in China donning face masks, highlighting the urgency of the situation.
UNDIAGNOSED PNEUMONIA OUTBREAK—An emerging large outbreak of pneumonia in China, with pediatric hospitals in Beijing, Liaoning overwhelmed with sick children, & many schools suspended. Beijing Children's Hospital overflowing. on what we know so far:pic.twitter.com/hmgsQO4NEZ— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) November 22, 2023
Mycoplasma pneumoniae, commonly referred to as "walking pneumonia," is a potential culprit behind respiratory infections in young children. While this bacterial infection typically manifests as a mild illness, it can escalate to more severe conditions that necessitate hospitalization.