Childhood pneumonia on the rise worldwide, and immunologists have been battling it for years

A wave of news about childhood pneumonia has swept the world. Infections are increasing in countries such as China, the United States, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Experts and health organizations on the subject called for calm. They clarified that cases must be tracked and seasonal infections must be addressed, but the situation is far from a global crisis.

Zania Stamataki, associate professor of viral immunology at the University of Birmingham, warned that there are currently no new viruses or pathogens associated with lung inflammation to be wary of. The scholar clarified in the column that there has indeed been an increase in childhood pneumonia cases in some parts of the world, but the culprit has always been the same source of infection. dialogue.

Every year, immunologists are faced with the consequences of respiratory bacteria, among them respiratory syncytial virus and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Both pathogens are common and are expected to arrive during the last few months of the year. The cold seasons of 2023 and 2024 are no exception.

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Pneumonia in children, an old acquaintance of health organizations

Pneumonia is a complication of lung infection caused by a variety of pathogens. Doctors estimate that there are more than 200 viruses that affect the respiratory tract. Adenoviruses, enteroviruses, rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses are just a few examples. During the illness, one or two air sacs in the lungs become inflamed, and symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing, chills, and general malaise appear.

People of any age can get pneumonia, but children and older adults are more likely to develop it. In infants, infections occur more frequently because they tend to cluster in places without proper hygiene control mechanisms.A 2019 report from UNICEF stated that Every 39 seconds a child dies from lung inflammation. For the organization, pneumonia is the leading cause of death among infants. Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia are the countries with the most victims. In 2018, UNICEF estimated that nearly 500,000 children under the age of five had died from the disease.

“Every day, nearly 2,200 children under the age of five die from pneumonia, a disease In most cases it is treatable and preventable. Strong global commitment and increased investment are critical to combating this disease. Only cost-effective and effective protection, prevention and treatment measures for children, wherever they are, can truly save millions of lives. ” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

An employee prepares a dose of the Comirnaty Omicron XBB 1.5 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during a new COVID-19 vaccination event in Corsica on October 5, 2023.
SARS-CoV-2, syncytial virus and influenza, year-end cocktail

Given the expected increase in respiratory infections, coupled with the persistence of COVID-19 and its changing trends, epidemiological and genetic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, RSV, and influenza is warranted.

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that only 5% of all emergency cases involving minors registered in the country’s hospitals are pneumonia cases. The increase in infections remains at pre-pandemic levels. Health authorities said there was no evidence their patient was linked to patients in China.this Mycoplasma pneumoniaeIt is quite resistant to antibiotics and is the bacteria most likely to cause severe pneumonia.

“Increase in pediatric pneumonia based on lab results Does not appear to be caused by a new virus or other pathogen. Rather, these increases may be caused by viruses and bacteria that we expect to be present during respiratory disease season,” the CDC concluded.

Since China reported an increase in cases in November 2023, the World Health Organization has required China to report the epidemic situation in a timely manner. The organization issued no global alerts or warnings. However, it recommended a return to normal measures during the covid-19 pandemic, such as the use of masks, frequent hand washing and timely vaccination.

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