CDC director shares if respiratory illnesses in China are caused by new virus

China: Families at Beijing hospital amidst pneumonia outbreak

The surge in respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, in children in China has triggered flashbacks to the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But speaking at the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in the US on Thursday, Cohen said her agency is confident they are being caused by known pathogens such as the flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

She said: “We believe there is no new or novel pathogen. These are related to existing pathogens – Covid, flu, RSV.”

Cohen explained the CDC has a small office in China which means they’ve been able to corroborate the assessment of its Chinese counterparts.

She added because of the country’s Covid lockdowns, the usual group of respiratory viruses weren’t circulating and children weren’t able to build up immunity defences. Once these pathogens returned, the outbreaks began.

READ MORE What we know about China’s child pneumonia outbreak

The surge of respiratory illnesses is concentrated in northern China, said Cohen. There have been reports of hospitals being overhauled with sick children.

Health officials in China have said they are working to increase the availability of health care providers and boost the supply of medicine, while advising parents of children with ild cases to avoid going to hospitals because of long wait times and the risk of cross-infections.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters at the UN on Wednesday the surge is a common issue and “has been put under effective control”.

Don’t miss…
Doctor’s advice whether respiratory illness spike in China is global concern[EXPERT ADVICE]
Mystery China pneumonia outbreak may overwhelm European country’s health system[INSIGHT]
Full list of countries affected by Chinese respiratory illness[LATEST]

  • Support fearless journalism
  • Read The Daily Express online, advert free
  • Get super-fast page loading

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s health ministry on Thursday urged the elderly, very long and those with poor immunity to avoid travel to China. It added if travel is necessary, then people should get flu and Cover vaccinations before going.

As for the respiratory illnesses spreading globally, Dr Leana Wen, CNN’s wellness medical expert, said with the information that’s out there right now, the spike in cases should not be a concern.

She said: “What would be most worrisome to the international medical community is if a new pathogen is emerging, as it did in the form of COVID-19 in the winter of 2019. This does not appear to be the case now.”

She added: “Importantly, no new pathogen has been detected. There has also been no unusual clinical presentation with children appearing much sicker than normal.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised against “the application of any travel or trade restrictions based on the current information available on this event”.

Dr Wen said: “It also does not recommend any specific preventive measures for travellers to China, though it does advise people in China to take steps to reduce the spread of respiratory illness. That includes staying home when ill, ensuring good ventilation, practicing regular hand washing and wearing masks as appropriate.

“I think these are all reasonable and would also add that people vulnerable to severe illness from respiratory diseases should take additional precautions, including wearing an N95 or equivalent mask while in indoor, crowded places.”

Source: Read Full Article