India monitoring China's respiratory illness outbreak
India is closely monitoring the outbreak in China which has resulted in respiratory illness among children.
"Union Health Ministry is closely monitoring the reported outbreak of H9N2 cases and clusters of respiratory illness in children in northern China. There is low risk to India from both the avian influenza case reported from China as well as the clusters of respiratory illness," the Indian government said in a statement on Friday.
"Some media reports have indicated clustering of cases of respiratory illness in children in northern China for which WHO has also issued a statement: (https://worldhealthorganizationdepartmentofcommunications.cmail20.com/t/d-e-vhduio-tyelrhjty-y/). Based on the currently available information, an increase in incidence of respiratory diseases in China has been reported in the last few weeks. The usual causes of respiratory illness in children have been implicated and there has been no identification of an unusual pathogen or any unexpected clinical manifestations," the statement said.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said recently a meeting was held under the Chairmanship of DGHS to discuss the preparedness measures against human cases of Avian Influenza in the country against the backdrop of a human case of H9N2 (Avian influenza virus) in October 2023 in China that was reported to WHO.
"The overall risk assessment by WHO indicates a low probability of human to human spread and low case fatality rate among human cases of H9N2 reported to WHO so far. The need for strengthening surveillance among human, animal husbandry and wild life sectors and improving coordination was recognised," the statement said.
The Indian government said the country is prepared for any kind of public health exigency.
"India is embarking on a One Health approach to adopt a holistic and integrated roadmap towards addressing such public health issues," read the statement.
Hospitals in northern China and the capital Beijing are witnessing a surge in children suffering from respiratory illnesses.
This is China's first winter since it relaxed strict COVID-19 measures a year ago.
Wait times to see doctors stretch for hours, with hundreds of patients queuing at some children’s hospitals in major cities across northern China, reported CNN.
An official at the Beijing Children’s Hospital told state media recently as quoted by CNN that the current average of more than 7,000 daily patients “far exceeds the hospital’s capacity.”
A staff at Beijing's Friendship Hospital told the American news channel it could take all day to show a paediatrician.
“Right now, we have a lot of kids here. Those who booked an emergency appointment yesterday still weren’t able to see the doctor this morning,” the staff member said.
Health officials in Beijing and other major cities in northern China have told CNN typical seasonal illnesses, including influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), as well as mycoplasma pneumonia – a bacterial infection that typically causes mild infection and commonly affects children – were driving causes.
World Health Organization (WHO) said it has been monitoring data from Chinese surveillance systems that have been showing an increase in respiratory illness in children in northern China since mid-October.
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