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How is India Preparing for China New Virus?

While India’s economy is still struggling from the wave of Covid-19, China new Virus has shocked people with its emergence this year. A deadly virus is again suspected to attack the unstable boat of India, and nobody for sure knows what turns we will witness next. 

China new virus is causing severe respiratory deformities in children. While we thought we would never face anything, such as the surge of COVID-19, this new virus is threatening young children and is causing severe lung illness, including pneumonia. Since May, the outbreak has been on, and the professionals kept it hidden from coming up. Now that the spread is out and we have been susceptible, it is time to look into the matter and see what should be done to prevent this chain in the country.

What is China New Virus?

The sudden increase in respiratory illness caused by China new virus has brought back memories from the early COVID-19 days. While, initially, it seemed like a mere virus causing breathing issues and then resolving spontaneously, it took an ugly turn and evolved into the deadliest disease in the world. 

It was hard for everyone to bear the days that brought the fear of death into the air. Indeed, preventive measures were taken, and an intense lockdown was initiated nationwide. But, the damage done to other areas is unimaginable and uncompared. A similar pattern is again on the way, but this time, the victim is only children!

The severe respiratory disease is attacking the mucus lining of the lungs and causing secondary symptoms associated with pneumonia. Intense body aches followed by extreme breathing difficulty are reported. Many schools have been locked down in China, and people are quarantined. You can read the WHO Guidelines on China new virus outbreak to learn more about WHO’s response. 

Researchers and investigators have detected no new pathogens. The sudden hospitalization spike is a surge of infections (respiratory), which was already expected by healthcare officials in the country this winter. This is China’s first season without COVID-19 restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020. However, epidemiologists say that the unusually high prevalence of pneumonia in China captures our attention.  

Surprisingly, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) drove the most spikes in illness after the COVID-19 restrictions were eased in other countries. 

The First Reported Case

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The National Health Commission of China reported the first life-threatening “Pneumonia Outbreak” case on November 13, 2023. After that, the country reported a sudden spike in cases. The outbreak has resulted in a large number of children’s hospitalization, and schools have been closed for now. 

This week, the situation gained the spotlight when the World Health Organization asked China to provide information on the current report. The Organization requested a Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) statement on undiagnosed pneumonia cases in children.

The deadly viral disease established its roots mainly in northern China and then spread Nationwide. Most of the severe and life-threatening cases are reported in the country’s capital, Beijing. However, the virus has also turned concerning in the northeastern Liaoning province and other areas in China. 

AL Jazeera, an Arabic Media Company, reported that one major hospital in Beijing has reported that, on average, every day, they are seeing about 1,200 patients enter their emergency room.

The Current Situation 

This week, WHO revealed that China’s health authorities believe the rise in hospitalizations since October resulted from known pathogens, such as influenza virus, adenoviruses, and RSV. These viruses tend to cause only mild symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, and cough, much like a cold. 

However, the surge in children’s hospitalisation cases, particularly in northern cities, is a result of Mycoplasma pneumoniae. It is a bacterium that infects the mucus lining of the lungs and causes difficulty breathing. It is the most common variant, sometimes called ‘walking pneumonia’. The disease generally lasts for a few days and causes only mild symptoms. The area of concern is why it is hitting children hard this year?

An epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong, Benjamin Cowling, said that the wave of illness is not “shocking”. He added, “This is a typical ‘winter surge’ in acute respiratory infections,”. It is happening slightly earlier this year, perhaps because of increased population susceptibility to respiratory infections resulting from three years of COVID measures.”

Symptoms of China New Virus

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Chinese health authorities have reported that the rising cases of respiratory infections are caused by a mix of familiar viruses. The main reason for the outbreak is the country’s first winter after strict Covid restrictions since 2020.

They have reportedly said that “Years of isolation have weakened the immune system”. Children in growth years and under-development are to catch the virus more quickly.

However, proper sanitation and preventive measures must be taken for safety. Given that, here are some symptoms associated with China New Virus.

  • Fever
  • Lung inflammation without a cough
  • Pulmonary nodules, lumps on the lungs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Chest Pain

No deaths have been reported so far, but hospitalization cases remain at peak. 

Is China New Virus Contagious?

The spread of the virus has spread across all areas of the nation. Several parents in Beijing on Thursday reported their children of mycoplasma pneumonia to AFP. The pathogen is a common cause of pneumonia in children and can be easily treated with antibiotics.

However, this severe surge of infected cases has not been reported to the Chinese Health Organization in years. Previously, it did not require emergency hospitalisation, and the most severe symptom was a cough that could last for weeks.

With such an extreme and severe widespread, children are at the greatest risk of developing the disease. Those with a nascent immune system are especially more prone to pneumonia.

Should India take preventive measures?

Though the “Mycoplasma Outbreak” is severe, it stands nowhere similar to COVID-19. It is a common and familiar pathogen that generally causes new episodes every few years. However, this time, other viruses are also at the spread, particularly RSV. This winter, India will likely face these pathogens if proper sanitization and preventive measures are not taken.

Along with Government plans, general citizens also practice precautions to stay safe and protect children. Preventive measures generally include washing hands regularly and avoiding contact with others.

You can also read the COVID-19 guidelines to learn about all the health precautions. 

How To Stay Safe From The Virus?

The World Health Organization has recommended that people take proper sanitization and preventive measures to avoid spreading the virus. The affected areas in China are requested to follow Covid-19 rules and practice quarantine. If any infected person is suspected, an immediate hospital checkup is mandatory.

The WHO has recommended against imposing any travel restrictions that involve China in light of the present increase.

How Is India Preparing For China New Virus?

Based on China’s current situation, the government of India has issued a notice for all the states to put their health infrastructure on alert. 

State governments in Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Haryana, and Tamil Nadu have requested their healthcare staff and hospital management to prepare special care for patients complaining of respiratory issues.

Hospitals are asked to be prepared with proper measures such as hospital beds, drugs and vaccines for influenza, medical oxygen, antibiotics, PPE, etc.

Given that, here is how different states are taking preventive measures for China New Virus.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma. Subramanian, on Wednesday, said that the state health department is carefully investigating every respiratory case in children. He added that fever camps are held weekly to witness seasonal viral outbreaks. “This will be held every Saturday for another 5 weeks,” the minister stated.

Dr Selvavinayagam, director of Tamil Nadu Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said no seasonal outbreak or respiratory diseases have been detected now, and the state does not need to be alarmed.

We have already established the surveillance part, where we will be requesting all the institutions to report to us on the IHIP (Integrated Health Information Portal) portal… With regard to infrastructure, our team is capable of expanding the required infrastructure at any time,” he said.

Gujarat

Rushikesh Patel, health minister of Gujarat, said that the state and central governments are prepared for any upcoming health emergency followed by any respiratory illness cases in China.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and ICMR are keeping a close watch on this and have also issued an advisory on this,” Patel reported ANI. “We have re-examined the oxygen availability and bed preparations made during the COVID period in Gujarat. Arrangements have also been made to create a separate ward for such cases.”

Karnataka

Karnataka’s state health minister, Dinesh Gundu Rao, also stated there is no need to panic about the illness. No cases have been reported yet, but all state hospitals are prepared for emergencies.

Rajasthan

Rajasthan’s medical and health department has asked the healthcare staff to remain alert and be prepared for emergency cases. The hospitals in Rajasthan are taking proper measures to generate any necessary response for any outbreak.

Uttarakhand

ANI reported that the state government had declared an alert in Uttarakhand to direct officials to step up surveillance in the state.

This is because three important districts– Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Pithoragarh – share borders with China.

Directed officials are requested to pay close attention to people suffering from ‘Severe acute respiratory illness‘ symptoms.

According to ANI, “All the district officers and chief medical officers of the state are been directed to make adequate arrangements for isolation beds/wards, oxygen beds, ICU beds, ventilators, and oxygen cylinders for the treatment of pneumonia and influenza flu patients in their respective districts“, a Health Secretary issues an official statement.

Conclusion

China is again on the ground against a battle with China New Virus. The “mycoplasmic pneumonia” is causing a life-threatening outbreak in children nationwide. The spread of the virus is more severe in northern China, especially in the country’s capital. While people are concerned about the virus being connected to COVID-19, officials have announced that the “new disease” is caused by a mix of known viruses, such as influenza virus, adenoviruses, and RSV. WHO (World Health Organization) has reported that the outbreak results from “seasonal disease”. However, it is important to follow preventive measures, and COVID-19 guidelines are essential. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

China is experiencing a new virus outbreak, affecting the lungs and respiratory system in children. Known pathogens cause the disease and are unlikely to be life-threatening.

No particular name for this new variant of “mycoplasmic Pneumonea” has been given. Instead, the outbreak is said to result from a mix of pathogens as a seasonal “winter disease”.

David Gillmore

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