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China pneumonia outbreak: India prepared, see no threat

Stating that the latest respiratory illness outbreak in China is no threat to India, Dr Neeraj Kumar Gupta, Pulmonary Department Head at Safadarjung Hospital said, “we are well prepared.”

“I don’t personally see any threat to India because we are well prepared. Even if it is a novel virus, we are well prepared because we have our past experience with us. Even the health ministry has issued guidelines so remain vigilant on this,” Dr Gupta told ANI.

China is reporting a large number of respiratory infections, particularly among children, and hospital wards are reportedly running full.

“It is just one of the common viruses that exists and why it is happening in China is probably attributable to the fact that there have been very severe lockdown situations for the last three years, which somehow led to the fall in herd immunity or the immune levels of the children and the vulnerable population, especially in the children in the last three years,” said Dr Gupta.

The likelihood that a section of the Chinese population was not vaccinated could have also led to infectivity, the pulmonary specialist said.

“Now it has been believed that it is maybe respiratory syncytial virus or maybe mycoplasma pneumonia is a normal virus which exists normal bacteria which is why they are sort of raising their head is probably because the immune level the children are gone down,” he added.

Further, the Safdarjung Hospital doctor also said the infection outbreak could also be linked to the winter season, where allergic tendencies are much higher.

He urged people not to become complacent and should remain vigilant, especially by wearing masks and avoiding too much of social gatherings.

Meanwhile, the central government reiterated that it was closely monitoring the surge in respiratory illness in children in parts of China. In its latest update, the Union Health Ministry said that there was no need for any alarm.

The Union Health Ministry has been proactively reviewing the states’ preparedness measures against respiratory illnesses as a matter of abundant caution.

On a precautionary note, states and UTs have been advised to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures, including the availability of human resources, hospital beds, drugs and vaccines for influenza, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment, and testing kits, among other essential medical items.

They have also been asked to ensure that the trends of influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory infections (ILI/SARI) should be closely monitored. ANI

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