China, still grappling with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, is now facing a potential health crisis as a mysterious pneumonia outbreak sweeps through schools, overwhelming paediatric hospitals in Beijing and Liaoning province. The outbreak has prompted the suspension of classes in some schools, reminiscent of the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Affected children display symptoms such as high fever and lung inflammation, without a cough, raising concerns among global health experts.
The international disease surveillance platform, ProMed, issued an alert on the undiagnosed pneumonia affecting children, speculating a possible link to mycoplasma pneumoniae, commonly known as "walking pneumonia." Although this bacterium typically causes mild infections, the rapid spread suggests a potential connection to school environments.
Chinese hospitals have reported an increase in cases of undiagnosed pneumonia since early October, particularly among children. Despite the severity of the outbreak, no deaths have been reported. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially requested detailed information from China, seeking clarification on the increase in respiratory illnesses and clusters of pneumonia in children. The WHO emphasises the need to determine if these events are linked to the overall rise in respiratory infections previously reported by Chinese authorities or if they represent separate incidents.