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Videos emerge of child pneumonia outbreak in China hospitals | Tech News

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Close up child hand with saline IV solution in hospital

Videos of hospitals crowded with children have appeared on Chinese social media (Picture: Getty)

A sudden rise in ‘influenza-like’ illnesses and reported clusters of pneumonia in children across northern China are being investigated by the World Health Organisation.

In recent days, media in cities such as Xian in the northwest have posted videos of hospitals crowded with parents and children awaiting checks.

Some social media users have posted photos of children doing homework while receiving intravenous drips in hospital.

Authorities have said the increase in disease is due to the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and seasonal circulation of virus and bacterial infections, but the WHO has asked for further details on the outbreaks, calling it a ‘routine check’.

Both China and the WHO have faced questions about the transparency of reporting on the earliest Covid-19 cases that emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.

An email from WHO China said the global agency decided to issue a statement on the latest outbreaks to share available information, as it had received a number of queries about it from the media.

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FILE - The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, sits closed in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province on Jan. 21, 2020. International scientists have examined previously unavailable genetic data from samples collected at a market in China close to where the first human cases of COVID-19 were detected and said they have found suggestions the pandemic originated from animals, not a lab. (AP Photo/Dake Kang, File)

Many believe the Covid-19 pandemic started in a Wuhan wet market (Picture: AP)

On Wednesday, the WHO said groups including the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases reported clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children in north China. The WHO said it was not clear if these were associated with an overall increase in respiratory infections previously reported by Chinese authorities, or separate events.

The spokesperson said that global monitoring for mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacteria that causes lung infections, had been at a low over the past three years and epidemics were cyclical, occurring every three to seven years.

What are the symptoms of pneumonia?

Symptoms of pneumonia include:

a cough – you may cough up yellow or green mucus (phlegm)
shortness of breath
a high temperature
chest pain
an aching body
feeling very tired
loss of appetite
making wheezing noises when you breathe – babies may also make grunting noises
feeling confused – this is common in older people

Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:

you’ve had a cough for 3 weeks or more
you’re coughing up blood
you have chest pain that comes and goes, or happens when breathing or coughing
you’re feeling short of breath

Source: NHS

Since mid-October, the WHO said northern China had reported an increase in influenza-like illness compared with the same period in the previous three years.

More: Trending

It also said China had systems in place to capture information on trends in illness incidence and to report that data to platforms such as the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.

Some believe a lab leak is responsible for the virus

Some believe a lab leak is responsible for the virus (Picture: Reuters)

It added that while it was seeking additional information, it recommended people in China follow measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness.

Such measures include vaccination, keeping distance from sick people, staying at home when ill, getting tested and medical care as needed, wearing masks as appropriate, ensuring good ventilation, and regular hand-washing, it said.

It is now almost four years since the first official reports of an unknown respiratory disease emerged in the Hubei province of central China on December 31, 2019, but unpublished Chinese government data suggests the first case was seen six weeks earlier, on November 17.

The Chinese government has been widely criticised for apparent attempts to cover up the outbreak in its early days.

The Covid-19 virus went on to spread across the world, causing a global pandemic and costing at least 3 million lives.


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