A new strain of bacterial pneumonia, named White Lung Syndrome, is spreading among children in China, Denmark, the United States, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
The illness, primarily impacting children aged three to eight, has been labelled ‘epidemic’ in Denmark, drawing comparisons to the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
A UK-based news daily reports that White Lung Syndrome, named for the distinctive lung damage evident in scans, is caused by mycoplasma pneumoniae, a bacterial infection resistant to many antibiotics.
The Netherlands and Sweden also report a surge in paediatric pneumonia cases, adding to the global concern.
The transmission of the disease occurs through respiratory droplets, making it highly contagious through coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, and even breathing.
Ohio is now the epicentre of the outbreak in the United States, with specific regions witnessing a notable increase in affected children requiring hospitalisation.
In response to the growing crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States have been in communication with Chinese health authorities.
CDC Director Mandy Cohen clarified in a statement that the surge in respiratory illnesses in China is not attributed to a novel pathogen.
Cohen emphasised that the current understanding suggests an uptick in existing respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, flu, RSV, and mycoplasma.
The exact cause of White Lung Syndrome remains elusive, with experts pointing to a combination of bacterial, viral, and environmental factors.
The severity of the disease is characterised by its ability to cause lung scarring and discoloration, posing a significant health risk to affected children.
Health authorities worldwide are working to understand the nature of this outbreak, implementing measures to curb its spread and protect vulnerable populations.
The situation remains dynamic, and updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
Parents and caregivers are urged to remain vigilant and follow recommended health guidelines to protect children from potential exposure.