CDC Issues Update On Disease Outbreak In China

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( – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is actively communicating with health authorities in China amid growing concerns about an outbreak of respiratory diseases causing pneumonia among children in northern China.

David Daigle, representing the CDC, informed Newsweek of their ongoing efforts to monitor this increase in illnesses, collaborating with international health partners and staying connected with local health authorities and the CDC’s office in China.

For over three decades, the U.S. CDC and its Chinese counterpart have cooperated on various global diseases, including influenza and tuberculosis. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concerns about China’s insufficient information sharing regarding the surge in respiratory diseases. This lack of transparency was also a point of contention during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized China for not being clear about its immunological situation. Despite this, Beijing has claimed its transparency in sharing data.

Last Thursday, the WHO stated it had asked for detailed information on the pneumonia outbreaks from China but had not yet received a response. A week before, Chinese health officials attributed the rise in pneumonia cases to known diseases like influenza, not a new pathogen.

Respiratory illnesses typically increase in winter due to the cold weather impacting immunity and spreading viruses more easily. China’s recent lifting of pandemic restrictions has been linked to the increased spread of transmissible diseases.

Beijing’s perceived secrecy has drawn parallels to the early pandemic, where it was accused of withholding information about the outbreak’s severity and suppressing evidence of death surges.

However, the WHO updated that Chinese officials had provided the necessary information, showing that the rise in hospital admissions was due to infections like mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, and seasonal flu viruses.

The health agency noted that some increases occurred earlier than usual in the winter season, which was not surprising given the lifting of pandemic restrictions, a trend also observed in other countries.

Daigle from the CDC acknowledged that initial reports suggested simultaneous increases in various known respiratory illnesses, leading to a spike in hospitalizations.

The CDC did not comment on the potential spread of these outbreaks to the U.S., whether pneumonia clusters had been detected in America, or if screening for respiratory diseases in travelers from China was being considered.

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