Unlock Premium Data: Up to 50% Off InvestingProCLAIM SALE

China's respiratory illness surge not as high as pre-pandemic - WHO official

Published 11/27/2023, 02:27 AM
Updated 11/27/2023, 02:33 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People stand outside a children's hospital in Shanghai, China November 24, 2023. REUTERS/Nicoco Chan/File Photo

By Andrew Silver

SHANGHAI (Reuters) -The spike in respiratory illnesses that China is currently suffering is not as high as before the COVID-19 pandemic, a World Health Organisation official said, reiterating that no new or unusual pathogens had been found in the recent cases.

Maria Van Kerkhove, acting director of the WHO's department of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, said the increase appeared to be driven by a rise in the number of children contracting pathogens that they had avoided during two years of COVID restrictions.

"We asked about comparisons prior to the pandemic. And the waves that they’re seeing now, the peak is not as high as what they saw in 2018-2019," Van Kerkhove told health news outlet STAT in an interview on Friday.

"This is not an indication of a novel pathogen. This is expected. This is what most countries dealt with a year or two ago," she added.

China's National Health Commission spokesperson Mi Feng said on Sunday the surge in acute respiratory illnesses was linked to the simultaneous circulation of several kinds of pathogens, most prominently influenza.

The spike became a global issue last week when the World Health Organization asked China for more information, citing a report on clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children by the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases.

China and the WHO have faced questions about the transparency of reporting early in the pandemic, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. The WHO said on Friday no new or unusual pathogens had been found in the recent illnesses.

Health officials urged local authorities on Sunday to increase the number of fever clinics, as hospitals are warning of long waits in northern areas like Beijing and Liaoning province where cases among children appear to be especially high.

© Reuters. People wait for their rides outside a children's hospital in Beijing, China November 27, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

Spread by young adults in the workplace and children at school, new cases of respiratory illnesses could peak in the next couple of weeks, Li Tongzeng, the chief physician at the infectious diseases department at Beijing You'an Hospital told the Global Times newspaper.

In the report published on Monday, Li also warned of the potential for a second wave peaking during the New Year holidays, as the elderly could become more at risk of infection during family gatherings.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.