Newest Mystery Illness Spreads from China to Europe

( – During the winter season, it’s not uncommon to see an uptick in viruses and colds. However, following the national health crisis that took the world by surprise in 2020, many people have taken to being more diligent about the spread of illnesses. A recent report has sounded the alarm on a mystery sickness that seems to be spreading to Europe from China.

Outbreaks in China

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), China’s National Health Commission revealed on November 13 that there was “an increase in incidence of respiratory diseases” in the country. Authorities pointed to the lifting of restrictions following the pandemic and the circulation of common afflictions during the time as the reason for the uptick. Yet, just a week later, there was another report, this time involving “clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children” in the northern part of the Asian nation.

The WHO is seeking more information, and as of November 22, officials had “requested additional epidemiologic and clinical information” as well as laboratory results from those who were tested. It turns out, the illnesses, which date back to May and have resulted in dozens of hospitalizations, are caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which cause lung infections. It’s seemingly hitting children harder this year than in years past. Pictures circulating of hospitals show people in hazmat suits and many people filling waiting rooms waiting for treatment.

The WHO has urged people in China to take the proper precautions, such as wearing masks, staying home when sick, and continuing to practice social distancing.

Westward Spread

China isn’t the only country grappling with a series of pneumonia cases in children. Health experts from The Netherlands say rates of sick children in the Dutch country have escalated among kids between the ages of 5 and 14 since August. The figures have nearly doubled from last year. Additionally, those in the 15 to 24 age group are also presenting with more cases.

One of the potential causes for the uptick in cases in the Netherlands is that the flu, RSV, and Sars-2 are making the rounds, and each of these can contribute to pneumonia, particularly if they’re left untreated.

UK health officials, particularly the UK Health Security Agency, aren’t ruling out that there’s a new virus causing the outbreak. Its chief executive, professor Dame Jenny Harries, says the agency is “closely monitoring the situation” and it’s important to “keep an open mind about the cause of any increased reporting,” per the Daily Mail.

Naturally, with the pandemic not quite out of everyone’s minds, this spread of a mystery illness is certainly raising concerns.

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