The World Health Organization (WHO) has made an official request to China for detailed information on an increase in respiratory illnesses and reported clusters of pneumonia in children.  

At a press conference on 13 November 2023, Chinese authorities from the National Health Commission reported an increase in incidence of respiratory diseases in China. Chinese authorities attributed this increase to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens such as influenza, mycoplasma pneumoniae (a common bacterial infection which typically affects younger children), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Authorities stressed the need for enhanced disease surveillance in healthcare facilities and community settings, as well as strengthening the capacity of the health system to manage patients.   

A mystery pneumonia is reportedly tearing through schools in China.

Hospitals in Beijing and 500 miles northeast in Liaoning are among those ‘overwhelmed with sick children,’ while school classes were ‘on the verge of suspension’, according to local news reports.

The children are presenting with unusual symptoms that include inflammation in the lungs and a high fever – but no cough or other symptoms usually associated with fluRSV and other respiratory illnesses.

hinese hospitals have been “overwhelmed with sick children” as an outbreak of pneumonia escalates in cities across the country, including Beijing, according to reports.

ProMed – a large, publicly available surveillance system which monitors human and animal disease outbreaks worldwide – issued a notification late on Tuesday detailing a reported epidemic of “undiagnosed pneumonia” in children.

It was a ProMed alert in late December 2019 that brought a mystery virus later named Sars-Cov-2 to the attention of many doctors and scientists, including senior officials at the World Health Organization.

The latest post, based on a report from the Taiwanese outlet FTV News, said that hospitals in the capital Beijing and Liaoning – almost 500 miles northeast – were struggling amid an influx of children sick with pneumonia.

“Many, many are hospitalised,” Mr Wei, a Beijing citizen, told FTV News. “They don’t cough and have no symptoms. They just have a high temperature (fever) and many develop pulmonary nodules.”