The central government on Thursday rejected a media report that linked the identification of bacterial cases in AIIMS Delhi to the recent increase in pneumonia cases in China. Calling the report "misleading and ill-informed", the government issued a statement and said,"A recent media report in a national daily has claimed that AIIMS Delhi has detected seven bacterial cases linked to the recent surge in pneumonia cases in China."
It also clarified that seven cases have no link whatsoever to the recent surge in respiratory infections in children reported from some parts of the world, including China. For the unversed, seven samples tested positive for infection caused by the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria at AIIMS Delhi between April and September this year, while Singapore recorded the highest 172 cases in Asia, a global surveillance study published in The Lancet Microbe journal claimed.
“The seven cases have been detected as part of an ongoing study at AIIMS Delhi in the six month period (April to September 2023) and is no cause for worry,” the statement added.
Moreover, it added that since January 2023 till date, no mycoplasma pneumonia was detected in the 61 samples tested at the Department of Microbiology at AIIMS.
“Mycoplasma pneumonia is the commonest bacterial cause of community-acquired pneumonia. It’ the reason for nearly 15-30 per cent of all such infections. Such surge has not been reported from any part of India,” the statement read.
It informed that the Union Health Ministry is in touch with the state health authorities and is keeping a close watch on the situation on an everyday basis.
Pneumonia Outbreak in China
The recent pneumonia outbreak reported in China is a concern for the rest of the world as our interconnected world still poses risks, said experts on Thursday, while calling on the need for preparing for the worst. A recent post on ProMED Mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, reported that China was experiencing a major pneumonia outbreak with no known cause in children.
It said that the outbreak, causing symptoms such as high fever, and some developing pulmonary nodules is overwhelming paediatric hospitals in the country. Upon request, Chinese officials informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) that no new pathogens were detected in the outbreak, and instead the illnesses were caused by known seasonal viruses such as the flu and RSV, along with the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Netherlands and Denmark have also reported a similar uptick in pneumonia cases among children.