After China, more countries report incidence of pneumonia epidemic

November 30, 2023

New Delhi, Nov 30

Denmark and Netherlands are the latest countries to report an outbreak of pneumonia in children, days after China.

A post on Avian Flu Diary, an infectious disease news blog, revealed Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections have reached the epidemic level, with an increase that began in the summer but has risen significantly over the past five weeks.

“The number is now so high that it is an epidemic,” according to Denmark's Statens Serum Institute.

"In the past five weeks, the number of new cases has increased significantly, and we are now seeing significantly more cases than usual, and that there is widespread infection throughout the country," senior researcher Hanne-Dorthe Emborg from the Statens Serum Institut was quoted as saying.

In week 47, 541 new cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection were detected, which is more than threefold since week 42, when the number of detected cases was 168.

The real number of cases is probably much higher, as not everyone with mild symptoms is tested.

However, Emborg said the cases are “not unusual” to Denmark, which historically sees nationwide epidemics of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections approximately every four years.

She said the incidence is typically highest in autumn and early winter.

"For the past four years, the number of mycoplasma infections has been extremely low, and it is therefore not unusual that we have an epidemic now. We have actually been waiting for it since we closed the country after the covid-19 pandemic," Emborg said.

The disease often presents as mild flu-like symptoms with fatigue, headache, sore throat and prolonged dry cough, especially nocturnal cough.

The vast majority have a fever, but often not as high a fever as with influenza and other more classic pneumonia.



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