published : 2023-11-27

China Pressed by World Health Organization After Surge of Respiratory Illnesses Reported

Chinese officials say surge in respiratory illness likely not caused by novel pathogen

A photo of a crowded street in China, showcasing the bustling city life. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has provided data suggesting the spike in respiratory illnesses in the country is not from a novel pathogen, World Health Organization (WHO) officials claim.

Earlier this month, Chinese authorities from the National Health Commission reported an increase in respiratory diseases in China, prompting the WHO to press the CCP for data on the outbreak.

The WHO claims Chinese health officials have successfully linked the spike in illnesses among children to known pathogens.

A close-up shot of a child wearing a protective face mask, highlighting the importance of preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses. (Taken with a Canon EOS R)

Specifically, officials attribute the scores of infections to respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, influenza, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

The WHO requested information from China on Wednesday as several groups, including the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases, reported clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children in northern China.

WHO has advised the people in China to follow measures to reduce the spread of such illnesses, including vaccination, keeping their distance from those who are ill, staying home when ill and wearing masks when appropriate.

An image of a group of healthcare professionals conducting a vaccination campaign in China, emphasizing the WHO's recommendation for immunization. (Taken with a Sony A7 III)

China’s National Health Commission, in a written Q&A posted online by the official Xinhua News Agency, suggested Thursday that children with mild symptoms "first visit primary healthcare institutions or pediatrics departments of general hospitals" because large hospitals are crowded and have long waiting times.

Scientists outside of China said the circumstances should be monitored but were not concerned that the surge was a sign of a new global outbreak.