Surge in respiratory illnesses in China not linked to Covid-19: Experts, Latest Health News - The New Paper

Surge in respiratory illnesses in China not linked to Covid-19: Experts

A recent surge in respiratory illnesses in China is not caused by novel coronavirus mutations or immune deficiency induced by the virus, said top Chinese health experts.

Professor Zhang Wenhong, director of the National Medical Center for Infectious Diseases in Shanghai, said that mycoplasma pneumoniae – a pathogen that is behind many infections lately – is totally different from the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

His pushback comes against unsubstantiated theories that are making waves on social media, with claims that mycoplasma pneumonia is an updated version of Covid-19 given that the two diseases share symptoms such as a sore throat, coughing, high fever and body aches.

There are also theories speculating that the damage done by Covid-19 to the immune system is behind the latest outbreak.

Dr Tong Zhaohui, director of Beijing Institute of Respiratory Diseases, said mycoplasma was discovered in the early 1900s, much earlier than the novel coronavirus. "The two infections are totally unrelated."

Dr Tong noted that the latest mycoplasma outbreak affected mainly children because they have weaker immunity than adults.

The pair also attempted to allay worries that compromised immunity had led to an uptick in the number of patients with fever who are testing positive simultaneously for multiple pathogens, including influenza, novel coronavirus and mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Prof Zhang said testing positive for more than one pathogen need not be a cause for alarm, as it could simply be a result of more powerful testing kits.

Dr Tong agreed, saying the phenomenon does not mean each pathogen has equally contributed to the symptoms. "Doctors will have to analyse case by case to determine which pathogen is the culprit causing people to feel sick." – CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Chinacovid-19Outbreaks and epidemics