Mysterious White Lung Syndrome surge in US, Europe sparks global alarmtext_fields
An alarming outbreak of a new strain of bacterial pneumonia, dubbed White Lung Syndrome, has been reported in the US, Denmark and the Netherlands amid the recent outbreak of pneumonia in several regions of China.
Predominantly affecting children aged three to eight, the illness was first reported in Ohio and has led to alarmingly high number of hospitalisations among children, local media reports said.
The syndrome, characterized by lung damage visible on scans, is attributed to mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacterial infection resistant to many antibiotics, according to The Metro.
Denmark is witnessing the mysterious pneumonia cases in children reaching 'epidemic levels,' drawing chilling parallels with the early stages of the coronavirus. The Netherlands and Sweden are also reporting a disturbing rise in paediatric pneumonia cases.
The disease is transmitted through respiratory droplets, disseminated during coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, and even breathing.
Several regions in Ohio have also been affected by the outbreak, marking it as the initial location in the United States to document cases of the illness, particularly with a notably elevated rate of children requiring hospitalization.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is actively monitoring a recent surge in respiratory infections in children in China, with countries such as India, remaining vigilant.
Denmark's Statens Serum Institute (SSI) has reported a noteworthy surge in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections over the past five weeks, contributing to global concerns. Similarly, the Netherlands, a European nation, has reported a rise in pneumonia cases, adding to the growing international focus on these respiratory challenges.
According to a report by US News & World Report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they have been in communication with China and indicated that the recent surge in respiratory illnesses in the country is not attributed to a novel pathogen.
"What we know as of right now, today, what's happening in China is that they are seeing an increase in some of their respiratory illnesses; they're seeing them in the northern part of their country; they're seeing an uptick in their paediatric population," CDC Director Mandy Cohen told a House subcommittee.
"What we do know as of, again, as of today, is that we do not believe this is a new or novel pathogen. We believe this is all existing, meaning COVID, flu, RSV, and mycoplasma. But they are seeing an upsurgence."
Since August, Ohio's Warren County has reported 142 paediatric cases of the pneumonia strain, prompting the county health department to declare it an outbreak.
White Lung Syndrome is a severe form of pneumonia that can cause lung scarring and discolouration. The exact cause of the illness is still unknown, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of bacterial, viral, and environmental factors.
Common symptoms of White Lung Syndrome include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain and fatigue. Practising good hygiene, such as frequent handwashing, covering the mouth while coughing, and staying up-to-date on vaccines, is recommended to reduce the risk of illness.