While the exact cause of the outbreak is under investigation, there is scant evidence to suggest that the cases stem from a novel virus.
The recent pneumonia outbreak in China has spurred numerous myths and fears about an impending pandemic. While the exact cause of this outbreak is currently under investigation, experts concur that there is no reason to panic as there is scant evidence to suggest that the cases stem from a novel virus.
Here’s what we know so far: White Lung Syndrome (WLS) is characterised by persistent cough, shortness of breath, and a peculiar whitening of lung tissues. It is known to predominantly affect children aged between three and eight years. Experts suspect a potential association with a recently identified strain of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterium known for causing respiratory infections.
Apart from that, the surge in respiratory illness cases in China has been attributed to causes such as influenza and COVID-19, which has the potential to induce lung complications, including pneumonia. In severe instances, it may lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which can result in lasting damage to the lungs and other organs.
Research findings also suggest a strong association between heightened levels of air pollution and the occurrence of WLS. Fine particulate matter, specifically PM2.5, has the capability to infiltrate deep into the lungs, inducing inflammation and initiating symptoms linked to WLS, particularly in urban areas with elevated vehicular emissions and industrial zones.
To reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates measures such as vaccination, maintaining distance from individuals who are infected, staying at home when experiencing illness, undergoing testing, seeking necessary medical care, wearing masks when deemed appropriate, ensuring proper ventilation, and adhering to regular handwashing practices.