WHO / SEASONAL RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES

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08-Dec-2023 00:07:41
“Right now there are many respiratory pathogens that are circulating in the Northern Hemisphere, as we enter the winter months, people are spending more time indoors and we tend to see an increase in respiratory infections, whether this is due to COVID-19 or influenza, but also other viruses like adenovirus, rhinovirus and some bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumonia,” a WHO representative said. WHO

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STORY: WHO / SEASONAL RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES
TRT: 07:41
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 05 DECEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Close up, WHO building, emblem

07 DECEMBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention:
“So right now there are many respiratory pathogens that are circulating in the Northern Hemisphere. As we enter the winter months, people are spending more time indoors and we tend to see an increase in respiratory infections, whether this is due to COVID-19 or influenza, but also other viruses like adenovirus, rhinovirus and some bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumonia.”
3. Med shot, Van Kerkhove
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention:
“We're concerned of a number of these types of respiratory pathogens because they can circulate easily between people. And if you're in spaces that are poorly ventilated, you're in crowded centres. They take advantage of that and will circulate pretty efficiently. We're always concerned about influenza because influenza circulates globally and it causes quite some impact, particularly in those who are of older age. And of course, COVID-19 is something that we are concerned about because this virus is circulating, it's evolving, it's causing severe infection. And it's causing deaths among many who aren't vaccinated or who have underlying conditions.”
5. Med shot, Van Kerkhove
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention:
“Mycoplasma pneumonia is a common childhood bacteria, and it does circulate in all countries. I think right now what we're seeing is much more attention to this. And so countries are reporting what they are seeing in their countries. And that is a good thing in terms of raising awareness of this important childhood pneumonia. And of course, because of the treatment that is available to protect children.”
7. Med shot, Van Kerkhove
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention:
“In recent weeks, we've heard a lot about an increase in respiratory infections across a number of countries who are in the Northern hemisphere, in the temperate regions. We've also heard of a reported cluster of pneumonia, undiagnosed pneumonia in children in China. And we, as WHO asked for further information from China to see if those were distinct clusters due to a particular pathogen or a novel pathogen, or if this was part of a large uptick in respiratory infections across the country. We put out a statement on the 22nd of November. We held a call with our colleagues from China on the 23rd of November and issued what we call a Disease Outbreak News, which summarizes the overall situation and in fact, what we are learning. And we are still learning because we're still communicating with China about this increase in respiratory infections as that across the board, across all age groups, there is an increase in a number of circulating pathogens influenza, SARS-CoV-2, adenovirus, rhinovirus and this bacteria called mycoplasma pneumonia, particularly in school age children. But this is part of a large overall increase across the country and not distinct clusters necessarily due to a novel pathogen.”
9. Med shot, Van Kerkhove
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention:
“In China. What we are seeing also is a new surveillance system that was put in place, came into effect in mid-October, that tracks ten viruses and three bacteria, and they're actually able to capture what is in circulation. So in our discussions with our colleagues in China, we are learning about what is circulating, what is circulating most by age group. And in those in this age group, the school age children, they were seeing an increase in mycoplasma pneumonia up through October. And now that's starting to decline. And now what they're seeing is an increase in this age group in influenza. And again, this is to be expected because of the winter months. And it's really the first season that they have with these Covid 19 restrictions lifted.”
11. Med shot, Van Kerkhove
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention:
“I think it's important right now that all countries are paying attention to respiratory infections. These viruses are circulating pretty widely across all age groups, so it's important that our surveillance systems are capturing this type of information. We need to capture information on influenza, on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But other respiratory pathogens like adenoviruses, rhinovirus and these bacteria that are circulating, Mycoplasma pneumonia is one of the bacteria that causes childhood pneumonia in children, and it's fairly common, but there are treatments that are available. Surveillance is important to track these viruses, but also to ensure patients get the right clinical care. So surveillance systems right now remain critically important to understand what is in circulation and what it is that governments can do, and what you can do to keep you and your family safe.”
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Janet Diaz, Clinical Lead, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
“Childhood pneumonia has been a longstanding public health problem for many, many years, and currently, the last estimates that you can find on our website show that childhood pneumonia accounts for up to 750,000 deaths in kids under the age of five globally. So that burden of disease is is located in some regions more so than others. But it is a global number. And so as you can see, that's significant. And the common causes of childhood pneumonia range between include things such as viruses, bacteria and another and less commonly pathogens such as fungi.”
14. Med shot, Diaz
15.SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Janet Diaz, Clinical Lead, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
“The pneumonias can be caused by different pathogens. So that would be what type of bug is causing the infection. That can be viruses such as influenza virus RSV, which is a virus you may have heard about SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. It could also be caused by bacteria. Common bacterial names are streptococcal pneumonia or Haemophilus influenza, and most recently, Mycoplasma pneumonia, which has been getting some.”
16. Med shot, media room
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Janet Diaz, Clinical Lead, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
“So as most cases are, most patients or kids who get sick have mild disease, that means that the patient will recover on their own, don't require treatment. Maybe they have a small fever, sore throat, and with simple medicines to reduce the fever, making sure they're taking good food and adequate hydration and getting some rest. The body recovers, the patient gets better. It could be, though, in less commonly, that patients go on to develop more severe disease. And that would be someone going on to develop more severe disease in their lungs, such as what we know from from COVID-19. So something called pneumonia. And when you get pneumonia that's severe then you would require hospitalization. And in that hospitalization, well you would also require antibiotics. So we do have treatments for mycoplasma pneumonia which are antibiotics. We have a couple a few options in that. And if you're severe enough to go into the hospital would require oxygen therapy and those kinds of supportive care interventions.”
18. Med shot, Diaz
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Janet Diaz, Clinical Lead, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
“It is a concern with mycoplasma pneumonia. There are reported high rates of antimicrobial resistance to macrolides, which is one of the antibiotics that is commonly used to treat mycoplasma pneumonia, so that has been reported globally. But with higher rates reported in Asia reported now for over a decade, we've known about those reports.”
20. Med shot, Diaz
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Janet Diaz, Clinical Lead, Health Emergencies Programme, WHO:
“We do not recommend people using antibiotic treatments on their own without the supervision of a clinician or a health worker that has, you know, examined and diagnosed you with the appropriate indication for that antibiotic. We do know that the inappropriate use of antibiotics or the overuse of antibiotics will worsen the problem of antimicrobial resistance in general.”
22. Med shot, Diaz


STORYLINE:

“Right now there are many respiratory pathogens that are circulating in the Northern Hemisphere, as we enter the winter months, people are spending more time indoors and we tend to see an increase in respiratory infections, whether this is due to COVID-19 or influenza, but also other viruses like adenovirus, rhinovirus and some bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumonia,” a WHO representative said.As we enter the winter months, people are spending more time indoors and we tend to see an increase in respiratory infections, whether this is due to COVID-19 or influenza, but also other viruses like adenovirus, rhinovirus and some bacteria like Mycoplasma pneumonia,” a WHO representative said.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Director (a.i), Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention said, “We're concerned of a number of these types of respiratory pathogens because they can circulate easily between people. And if you're in spaces that are poorly ventilated, you're in crowded centres.”

She added, “They take advantage of that and will circulate pretty efficiently. We're always concerned about influenza because influenza circulates globally and it causes quite some impact, particularly in those who are of older age. And of course, COVID-19 is something that we are concerned about because this virus is circulating, it's evolving, it's causing severe infection. And it's causing deaths among many who aren't vaccinated or who have underlying conditions.”

Van Kerkhove also said, “We're concerned of a number of these types of respiratory pathogens because they can circulate easily between people. And if you're in spaces that are poorly ventilated, you're in crowded centres. They take advantage of that and will circulate pretty efficiently. We're always concerned about influenza because influenza circulates globally and it causes quite some impact, particularly in those who are of older age.”

She added, “And of course, COVID-19 is something that we are concerned about because this virus is circulating, it's evolving, it's causing severe infection. And it's causing deaths among many who aren't vaccinated or who have underlying conditions.”

She continued, “Mycoplasma pneumonia is a common childhood bacteria, and it does circulate in all countries. I think right now what we're seeing is much more attention to this. And so countries are reporting what they are seeing in their countries. And that is a good thing in terms of raising awareness of this important childhood pneumonia. And of course, because of the treatment that is available to protect children.”

According to WHO, “In recent weeks, we've heard a lot about an increase in respiratory infections across a number of countries who are in the Northern hemisphere, in the temperate regions. We've also heard of a reported cluster of pneumonia, undiagnosed pneumonia in children in China. And we, as WHO asked for further information from China to see if those were distinct clusters due to a particular pathogen or a novel pathogen, or if this was part of a large uptick in respiratory infections across the country.”

Van Kerkhove continued, “We put out a statement on the 22nd of November. We held a call with our colleagues from China on the 23rd of November and issued what we call a Disease Outbreak News, which summarizes the overall situation and in fact, what we are learning. And we are still learning because we're still communicating with China about this increase in respiratory infections as that across the board, across all age groups, there is an increase in a number of circulating pathogens influenza, SARS-CoV-2, adenovirus, rhinovirus and this bacteria called mycoplasma pneumonia, particularly in school age children. But this is part of a large overall increase across the country and not distinct clusters necessarily due to a novel pathogen.”

Also she said that In China, “What we are seeing also is a new surveillance system that was put in place, came into effect in mid-October, that tracks ten viruses and three bacteria, and they're actually able to capture what is in circulation. So in our discussions with our colleagues in China, we are learning about what is circulating, what is circulating most by age group. And in those in this age group, the school age children, they were seeing an increase in mycoplasma pneumonia up through October. And now that's starting to decline. And now what they're seeing is an increase in this age group in influenza. And again, this is to be expected because of the winter months. And it's really the first season that they have with these Covid 19 restrictions lifted.”

She added, “I think it's important right now that all countries are paying attention to respiratory infections. These viruses are circulating pretty widely across all age groups, so it's important that our surveillance systems are capturing this type of information. We need to capture information on influenza, on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But other respiratory pathogens like adenoviruses, rhinovirus and these bacteria that are circulating, Mycoplasma pneumonia is one of the bacteria that causes childhood pneumonia in children, and it's fairly common, but there are treatments that are available. Surveillance is important to track these viruses, but also to ensure patients get the right clinical care. So surveillance systems right now remain critically important to understand what is in circulation and what it is that governments can do, and what you can do to keep you and your family safe.”

For her part, Dr Janet Diaz, Clinical Lead of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said, “Childhood pneumonia has been a longstanding public health problem for many, many years, and currently, the last estimates that you can find on our website show that childhood pneumonia accounts for up to 750,000 deaths in kids under the age of five globally. So that burden of disease is is located in some regions more so than others. But it is a global number. And so as you can see, that's significant. And the common causes of childhood pneumonia range between include things such as viruses, bacteria and another and less commonly pathogens such as fungi.”

Diaz added, “The pneumonias can be caused by different pathogens. So that would be what type of bug is causing the infection. That can be viruses such as influenza virus RSV, which is a virus you may have heard about SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19. It could also be caused by bacteria. Common bacterial names are streptococcal pneumonia or Haemophilus influenza, and most recently, Mycoplasma pneumonia, which has been getting some.”

She continued, “So as most cases are, most patients or kids who get sick have mild disease, that means that the patient will recover on their own, don't require treatment. Maybe they have a small fever, sore throat, and with simple medicines to reduce the fever, making sure they're taking good food and adequate hydration and getting some rest. The body recovers, the patient gets better. It could be, though, in less commonly, that patients go on to develop more severe disease. And that would be someone going on to develop more severe disease in their lungs, such as what we know from from COVID-19. So something called pneumonia. And when you get pneumonia that's severe then you would require hospitalization. And in that hospitalization, well you would also require antibiotics. So we do have treatments for mycoplasma pneumonia which are antibiotics. We have a couple a few options in that. And if you're severe enough to go into the hospital would require oxygen therapy and those kinds of supportive care interventions.”

Diaz said, “It is a concern with mycoplasma pneumonia. There are reported high rates of antimicrobial resistance to macrolides, which is one of the antibiotics that is commonly used to treat mycoplasma pneumonia, so that has been reported globally. But with higher rates reported in Asia reported now for over a decade, we've known about those reports.”

She concluded, “We do not recommend people using antibiotic treatments on their own without the supervision of a clinician or a health worker that has, you know, examined and diagnosed you with the appropriate indication for that antibiotic. We do know that the inappropriate use of antibiotics or the overuse of antibiotics will worsen the problem of antimicrobial resistance in general.”
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