Cases of Mycoplasma pneumonia, commonly known as walking pneumonia, doubled among Beijing children last year, according to a news report by Lung Disease News.
This type of pneumonia is a mild lung infection caused by bacteria called Mycoplasma. Over 50 percent of the children admitted to hospital due to pneumonia tested positive for the bacteria, and it’s speculated that the number of cases will continue to increase in 2016 and beyond. Data was collected by investigators from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics here in Beijing and the findings published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in February this year, in the hopes that the study might create awareness and help in slowing this epidemic down.
“Positive diagnoses for M. pneumoniae from May to December 2015 in children nearly doubled, from 30 to 57 percent, according to Hongmei Sun, M.D., who works as a pediatrician and director of the Department of Bacteriology at the Capital Institute,” the news report said.
Doctors, parents, and educators are warned to be on the lookout for this illness, as it spreads easily through crowded areas such as schools via contact with an infected person. The symptoms might include fever, fatigue, headaches, sore throats, loss of appetite, chest pain, and a bothersome and long-lasting cough (this is the most common). For children under five, fever might be absent but they can suffer from vomiting and diarrhea. The good news is that it can be treated with antibiotics and normal daily activities can resume.
The epidemic is the seventh of its kind in Beijing since the Institute began monitoring the pathogen in 1977.