Novel Pneumonia Outbreak in China

There is an emergency due to an outbreak of novel pneumonia in China. According to local media in China, Beijing and other cities across the country have seen a significant increase in pneumonia cases caused by mycoplasma since last month. In particular, many of the patients are known to be immunocompromised children. This situation is weighing heavily on hospitals across China.

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Beijing Children’s Hospital has increased its medical staff by 100% to serve these patients and is running a 24-hour operating system, with “more than 3,500 patients every day,” said Li Yuchuan, director of the medical department at Beijing Children’s Hospital. This situation is putting a huge strain on China’s healthcare system.

Let’s take a look at the basic characteristics of mycoplasma pneumonia and what to look out for.

Mycoplasma, what is it?

Mycoplasma is a classification for bacteria in the phylum Mycoplasma and genus Mycoplasma. These bacteria cause acute or chronic infections, primarily in the respiratory, urinary, and reproductive systems, and because of their small size and lightweight nature, they are highly contagious and have multiple routes of transmission.

Mycoplasmas are also microorganisms that fall somewhere between viruses and bacteria: they are very small bacteria without a cell wall. Because of these characteristics, it is often mistaken for a virus, but it is actually classified as a bacterium with intermediate characteristics close to those of a virus. These bacteria were first discovered in cattle in 1890, and since then, various studies and discoveries have led to our current knowledge.

Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

Mycoplasma infects epithelial cells in the respiratory tract primarily through droplets from an infected person. Most symptoms of infection are mild, but can be dangerous in immunocompromised populations. The main symptoms include bronchitis, runny nose, and dry cough, and occasionally, as the infection becomes more severe, fever, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches can occur.

The treatment for mycoplasma pneumonia is azithromycin.

In fact, imported azithromycin, a pneumonia drug, is selling like hotcakes in China’s pharmacies, and consumers are hoarding the drug in some areas. This appears to stem from past experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Global Impact of Mycoplasma Pneumonia

Thai princess Patcharakitthiyapa Narentirathepayawadi, 44, contracted mycoplasma in December last year and remains in a coma to this day, and we want to use this as a reminder of the dangers of mycoplasma. We hope you take care of yourself, too.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is currently one of the diseases that need attention, not only in China, but worldwide. We encourage you to spread this information to those around you and take precautions such as practicing good personal hygiene.

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