A concerning surge in pneumonia cases among children is being reported in the Netherlands, along with China grappling with a surge in respiratory illnesses, NY Post reported.
Netherlands sees alarming spike in child pneumonia cases in recent years
According to the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), last week saw an alarming spike. At least 80 out of every 100,000 children aged 5 to 15 received treatment for pneumonia.
Even younger children, aged 4 and under, experienced a rise from 124 to 145 cases per 100,000.
This marks the most significant pneumonia outbreak in recent years, surpassing the peak flu season in 2022. There were 60 cases per 100,000 children in the 5-to-15 age group recorded.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and Chinese health officials have stated that the recent pneumonia cases do not involve new or unusual pathogens.
The increase in illnesses is attributed to children contracting known viruses such as the flu, rhinoviruses, the respiratory syncytial virus, and the adenovirus. These viruses, which were avoided during the two years of COVID restrictions, are now affecting children.
China lifted strict lockdown rules at the end of 2022, marking the first flu season post-COVID in the country. Medical experts in China believe that the prolonged lockdown, which limited exposure to common viruses, has led to a weakened immunity in the population.
CNN health expert explains spike in respiratory illnesses in China
A CNN wellness medical expert Dr. Leana Wen explained how concerning the recent spike in respiratory illnesses in China is.
“Based on what we know from WHO, I don’t think the spike in respiratory illnesses should cause global concern. What would be most worrisome to the international medical community is if a new pathogen is emerging, as it did in the form of Covid-19 in the winter of 2019. This does not appear to be the case now.”
In the Netherlands, COVID-era measures have been lifted for quite some time. They have prompted concerns about the cause of the recent spike in childhood pneumonia cases.
Disturbing videos showing crowded hospitals in Beijing have raised global alarm in recent days. They were filled with sick children and their parents.
The WHO publicly requested Chinese health officials to share data on clusters of pneumonia cases. These cases were later identified as being caused by known viruses.