Ohio grapples with mycoplasma pneumonia surge, pediatric outbreak fears

Young patient under doctor's observation | Credits: Monkeybusinessimages
Young patient under doctor's observation | Credits: Monkeybusinessimages

United States: Ohio has been under the looming threat of pneumonia, as it has been reporting record-breaking cases of mycoplasma pneumonia. Medical experts have also predicted that the county may experience a pediatric outbreak following the series of outbreaks among children in Denmark and China. 

According to NBC News, the Warren County Health District underlined that the region has registered a large number of cases of pneumonia during fall. The official stats shared by the health authority mentioned that since August, as many as 145 cases have been registered, especially among children falling in the age group of 8 years. 

The health district also highlighted that till now, no death has been reported because of the disease, and the intensity of the disease is also not as serious as it was in the previous year. 

Further, it highlighted that the most common symptoms of pneumonia are fever, cough, and fatigue. 

Pneumonia cases across the world

The health authorities of Denmark and China have underlined that the cases of the disease have reached epidemic levels, and the admissions to hospitals have been continuously increasing. 

X-ray of normal lungs, bacterial pneumonia, and viral pneumonia | Credits: Google

 After witnessing the surge in cases in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao, the health ministry of Taiwan has urged the population to avoid traveling to the region. According to the authorities, the regions have been witnessing a rise in flu, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.

The reports by NBC News stated that the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Dr Mandy Cohen, stated that the authority has been continuously in contact with its team in China. The statement was shared during the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday. 

She was quoted saying, “We do not believe this is a new or novel pathogen.”

In addition to this, the Warren County Health District expressed that the experts did not suspect a new or novel respiratory virus was driving the outbreak. The authority noted, “There has been zero evidence of this outbreak being connected to other outbreaks, either statewide, nationally or internationally.”

What exactly is mycoplasma pneumonia?

Mycoplasma pneumonia is caused by the spread of a bacterium, which travels from one host to another through droplets and spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 

The experts underline that the bacterium can stay in the nose or throat without making the person sick; however, if it reaches the lungs, then a person can develop the symptoms of pneumonia. Mycoplasma pneumonia is known to be a milder form of the disease, but an infected person may reflect the symptoms for a longer period. 

The official stats inform that the United States experiences a peak in cases every three to seven years. 

In this regard, an associate professor of infectious disease at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas – Dr James Cutrell, said, “It’s sometimes referred to as ‘walking pneumonia,’ which means you have pneumonia, but you’re not sick enough to be in the hospital.”

An infected child | Credits: CBS News

Symptoms of mycoplasma infection in older kids and children

According to the CDC, the symptoms of the initial infection in older kids and adults are fevers, sore throats, headaches, and coughing for weeks to months. 

Children under the age of fever usually see cold-like symptoms, including stuffy noses, sore throats, sneezing, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Additionally, the health authorities outlined that young children can report weakening of immune systems if they contract to the infection. The symptoms of pneumonia in this age group are fatigue, shortness of breath, continuous cough, fever and chills.