Mystery China white lung virus could be caused by new pathogen experts fear

WHO press China for details after rise in respiratory illnesses

Experts are sounding the alarm over a mysterious virus sweeping across China as fears grow that the world is on the cusp of a new pandemic.

Heartbreaking images from China show young children hooked up to IV lines in overcrowded hospital waiting rooms as a sudden increase in respiratory illnesses across the country has caused worry worldwide.

It’s a sight that’s all too familiar for a world still recovering from the recent coronavirus pandemic.

In Beijing, anxious parents seeking help for their sick children are facing at least a day’s wait, even for emergency care.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported over 3500 cases of respiratory infection admitted to the Children’s Hospital.

Chinese media blame the outbreak on mycoplasma pneumonia, sometimes called walking pneumonia, which is a bacterial infection that usually causes upper respiratory tract symptoms but can also prompt more serious lung issues and pneumonia.

On November 1, Chinese health officials held a press conference to discuss a rise in respiratory illnesses.

They believe that colder weather and relaxed COVID restrictions have led to an immunity gap, causing a surge in known pathogens.

However, a report from the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMed) noted that many sick children in China didn’t have coughs or other symptoms, just high fevers. Some even developed lung nodules.

This has led experts to wonder if these clusters could be undiagnosed pneumonia caused by a new pathogen.

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Just four years ago, a mysterious respiratory disease (SARS-CoV-2) began spreading in China, and the government’s lack of transparency cost other countries valuable preparation time.

Since mid-October this year, the World Health Organization has been keeping a close eye on data from China’s health surveillance systems, which show a rise in respiratory illnesses.

On November 22, the UN’s health agency requested more detailed information and lab results from China about these cases, as well as recent trends in respiratory pathogens.

However, by November 24, China reported that there were no unusual or new pathogens found in the clusters of pneumonia cases.

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