Spike in “mysterious” pneumonia cases among children in China, WHO appeals

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By John

They are called “undiagnosed pneumonia” and many define them “mysterious” because, in fact, on pneumonia which have been around since mid-October mainly affecting children in Northern China certainly nothing is known.

The lack of elements is total, so much so that theWorld Health Organization asked the Chinese health authorities for more information, while the posts entrusted to X (formerly Twitter) speak of crowded hospitals, such as the pediatric one in Beijing and those in the province of Liaoning.

The risk is that this general uncertainty leaves room for fear and evokes memories of the ‘mysterious pneumonia’ that at the end of 2019 announced what was recognized some time later as the second pandemic of the century. The first news of pneumonia was reported on November 13th by the Chinese National Health Commission, attributing it to well-known pathogens, such as mycoplasma pneumoniae (the most common cause of pneumonia in children), respiratory syncytial virus and the SarsCoV2 virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic. About a week later, however, the international network of the Society of Infectious Diseases, ProMed, spoke of ‘outbreaks of undiagnosed pneumonia. Hence the request for epidemiological and clinical data from the WHO.

The most frequent symptoms, according to the descriptions of infectious disease specialists on ProMed, are cough, lethargy and to a lesser extent fever: all compatible with the infectious agents cited by the Chinese authorities.

For virologist Francesco Broccolo, of the University of Salento, «the most natural hypothesis is that, after the anti-Covid measures were removed in China, after three years of relative isolation, exposure to all respiratory pathogens found the immune system unprepared. That is to say – he observes – that for all that time the immune system did not have the memory instructions typical of when, every year, one is exposed to the pathogens responsible for respiratory diseases”. Such a situation, continues Broccolo, “could actually lead to a wave of pneumonia.”

Hence “the doubt that can arise in a virologist: if the possible causes are known, why define them as undiagnosed pneumonia?” This, he notes, “casts a shadow of concern, considering that pneumonias whose suspected pathogens are easily diagnosable with laboratory tests and x-rays are neither defined nor diagnosed”. On the other hand, being able to understand the causes of undiagnosed pneumonia in China is “complicated” because, “on the one hand the doctors are formidable, while the politicians have a different logic”, observes Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the “Mario Institute Niggers.”

“It’s impossible that they don’t know what causes pneumonia and we don’t have the information because they haven’t given it to us,” says the expert. «The possibility that I see as the most reasonable – he continues – is that the long lockdowns have made children’s immune systems more fragile. Closures are probably fine for short periods, but recent studies have concluded that lockdowns and school closures are fine for short periods. This is something that was not known at the beginning of the pandemic.” Unfortunately, he concludes, “there is no information”, but it is certain that “the mysterious things are no longer there: it is a question of having the elements. The mystery is there for those who don’t know”.