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Concerns rise as pediatric pneumonia cases surge in Ohio and abroad

Health officials clarify that the U.S. outbreak is not linked to China, suggesting that Mycoplasma is not spreading between countries.
Concerns rise as pediatric pneumonia cases surge in Ohio and abroad
Posted at 6:42 PM, Dec 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-06 18:42:35-05

Ohio health authorities have issued a warning about a rise in pediatric pneumonia cases, as reports from China, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands also highlight increased cases linked to Mycoplasma pneumonia.

Health district officials in Warren County, just north of Cincinnati, have declared a pediatric pneumonia outbreak. As of Wednesday, the county had 163 cases among children aged 3 to 14, with the average age being 8.

“Not only is this above the county average, it also meets the Ohio Department of Health definition of an outbreak,” the Warren County Health District said in a press release. “We do not think this is a novel/new respiratory disease but rather a large uptick in the number of pneumonia cases normally seen at one time.”

Health officials clarify that the cluster of cases involves common germs causing pneumonia each year, such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and a bacteria called Mycoplasma.

Recent media reports hinted at a possible connection between the increase in Mycoplasma pneumonia cases in China, Denmark, France, and the Netherlands and the U.S.

However, health officials clarify that the U.S. outbreak is not linked to China, suggesting that Mycoplasma is not spreading between countries.

“We have no evidence whatsoever of any connection to any outbreaks statewide or internationally,” Clint Koenig, a family physician and medical director at the Warren County Health Department, told the Washington Post. “We don’t have any evidence to suggest this is anything but routine, standard winter bugs causing pneumonia in higher rates in kids.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support this ideaby noting that Mycoplasma, not being a new pathogen, tends to trigger pneumonia outbreaks every three to seven years.

"CDC is looking into recent reports of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections among children in the United States. While these infections are usually mild, pneumonia (lung infection) can occur," the CDC stated.

Additionally, officials say that it's not uncommon for respiratory illnesses to spread during this time of year, and they are sharing this information so people are aware of the illness and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. 

SEE MORE: What is 'white lung' pneumonia and why are officials discussing it?


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