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China: Rising cases of respiratory disease and pneumonia spark WHO concern

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p2770 (Published 23 November 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2770
  1. Mun-Keat Looi
  1. The BMJ

The World Health Organization has made an official request to China for more detailed information after reports of an increase in respiratory illnesses and reported clusters of pneumonia in children.

On 21 November posts on ProMED, the free disease reporting service that first alerted the world to covid-19, reported clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children in northern China. WHO requested additional epidemiological and clinical information as well as laboratory results from the reported clusters through the International Health Regulations mechanism.

“There is currently no evidence that the increase in paediatric pneumonia cases in China may be due to a new virus,” said Zania Stamataki, associate professor in viral immunology at the University of Birmingham, UK.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at University of East Anglia, agreed that it did not sound like an epidemic caused by a novel …

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