NewsNew epidemic? China responds to WHO's requests

New epidemic? China responds to WHO's requests

There has been an increase in respiratory diseases in China.
There has been an increase in respiratory diseases in China.
Images source: © Getty Images | CFOTO
ed. PJM

4:31 PM EST, November 27, 2023

China insists that the recent wave of respiratory diseases is attributed to influenza and other known pathogens. The significant number of cases recently logged has drawn the attention of the World Health Organization. "There is no new virus," assures the Chinese Ministry of Health.

The emergence of respiratory infection clusters in China is due to the overlap of common viruses such as influenza, rhinoviruses, RSV or adenovirus, according to the Associated Press, citing sources from the Chinese Ministry of Health. Illnesses caused by bacteria such as mycoplasmal pneumonia have also been involved. The health department has urged local authorities to initiate more facilities and advocate vaccinations among children and older people.

"Efforts should be made to increase the number of relevant clinics and treatment areas, appropriately extend service hours and strengthen guarantees of drug supplies," said Mi Feng, the ministry's spokesperson. Chinese citizens have also been advised to mask up.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested China to supply information on the recent wave of respiratory diseases and pneumonia in the child population clusters. Public requests for detailed data from a UN health agency are uncommon. Such requests are typically made internally. The Associated Press insinuates that this might be connected to allegations surfacing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Previously, both the Chinese authorities and the WHO were criticized for a lack of transparency in their initial reports. COVID-19 was first reported as an atypical type of pneumonia, similar to the reporting of the SARS virus.

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