WHO Urges Caution as China Grapples with Rise in Respiratory Illness Among Children

WHO Urges Caution as China Grapples with Rise in Respiratory Illness Among Children
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In a recent statement, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on the Chinese population to adopt measures aimed at reducing the risk of respiratory illnesses. The appeal comes in the wake of a reported surge in cases among children in the northern regions of the country.

Since mid-October, northern areas have witnessed an increase in “influenza-like illness,” prompting the WHO to formally request detailed information from Chinese authorities. The organization seeks clarification on the spike in respiratory illnesses and clusters of pneumonia among children.

Chinese authorities attribute the rise in respiratory illnesses to the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens, including influenza and common bacterial infections affecting children. However, the WHO remains vigilant, noting a report from media and disease surveillance system ProMED about undiagnosed pneumonia clusters in children on November 21.

The WHO is actively seeking more information, emphasizing the need for clarity on the connection between ProMED’s report and the official statements from Chinese authorities. The organization has also requested data on recent trends in the circulation of pathogens such as influenza, SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19 virus), RSV affecting infants, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Additionally, they are inquiring about the capacity and potential overcrowding of the health system.

While awaiting further information, the WHO advises individuals to take preventive measures, including vaccination, maintaining distance from the sick, staying home when unwell, practicing regular hand-washing, and wearing masks when necessary.

As of now, there is no indication of China’s response to the WHO’s request for additional information. The situation remains under close scrutiny as health authorities work to understand and address the evolving challenges posed by the recent spike in respiratory illnesses, especially among children.

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