Indonesia on alert against ‘mysterious pneumonia’ outbreak in China

Children and their parents wait in an outpatient area of a children’s hospital in Beijing on Nov 23, 2023. China has reported an increase this year in “influenza-like illness” - AFP

JAKARTA: The Health Ministry has instructed healthcare professionals across the country to increase their monitoring of cases of respiratory illnesses following a recent outbreak of “mysterious pneumonia” in northern China.

Since mid-October, authorities have been reporting higher levels of “influenza-like illness” in northern China compared to the same periods in the past three years, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Chinese health authorities have also reported clusters of pneumonia in children up to 40 per cent above the norm, although it is unclear whether the two observations are related.

The United Nations health body is currently seeking more information on the reports, including laboratory results and recent data on the spread of respiratory illness, from Chinese health authorities following reports about clusters of an “undiagnosed pneumonia”.

The initial reports came from the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMed), a public system run by the International Society for Infectious Diseases.

The WHO has yet to determine the cause of the outbreak, but Chinese authorities told the press last week that the respiratory illness spike was a result of the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens such as influenza, SARS-CoV-2, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Mycoplasma pneumonia typically affects younger children, causing a cough and sore throat. The infection is usually mild, and for this reason, doctors sometimes call it “walking pneumonia”.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry has issued a circular urging health workers to closely monitor respiratory cases at their respective facilities and regularly report the data to authorities, said Maxi Rein Rondonuwu, the ministry’s disease control and prevention director general.

"If they find suspected mycoplasma pneumonia cases, they should take samples from the patient and send them to government-owned laboratories," Maxi said in a statement on Tuesday (Nov 28). He also advised healthcare professionals to educate the public about the disease.

The government also plans to increase surveillance at border checkpoints, instructing officials to pay closer attention to travellers, animals and goods coming from China.

The ministry urged the public to remain calm, saying it was unlikely that mycoplasma pneumonia would be responsible for another global pandemic.

“The disease isn’t new and is much less virulent than Covid-19,” said the ministry’s infectious disease prevention and control director Imran Pambudi at a press briefing on Wednesday.

“Although not impossible, it’s very unlikely that this outbreak will become a pandemic,” he continued, adding that the fatality rate of the antibiotic-treatable disease was relatively low. - The Jakarta Post/ANN

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Indonesia , pneumonia , China , alert


Next In Aseanplus News

Asean news headlines as at 9pm on Wednesday (Feb 28)
Jokowi says economy remains strong, probability of recession only 1.5%
New Thai agency successfully recoups over 50% of funds lost to online scammers
Overseas Vietnamese can buy land in Vietnam more easily thanks to Revised Land Law: Lawyer
Five tonnes of caffeine seized in central Myanmar
Filipino act Ben&Ben to perform at Ed Sheeran concert in Manila
Timor-Leste president in Laos for state visit
No SST for water, electricity usage over 600kWH/month gets 8%
Sultan calls on LegCo members to present new ideas and perspectives
Ex-Kinderland teacher accused of ill-treating girl handed more charges involving three other children

Others Also Read