China’s Mystery Illness Resembles Corona: Insights from Swedish Doctor on Potential Spread to India

August 2023, China has lifted all restrictions after a 3-year coronavirus lockdown. However, a month later, a mysterious illness has begun spreading, causing respiratory distress with swollen lungs, affecting around 7,000 children daily. Experts suggest similarities to coronavirus. It has spread from one city to another in China, raising concerns globally. The World Health Organization (WHO) seeks answers, but China remains silent. Dr. Ram Shankar Upadhyay, a Swedish infectious disease expert, addresses 10 questions about the disease’s nature and the risks it poses to India.

Question 1: What is the respiratory illness spreading in China? Does it have a name?

Answer: Similar to coronavirus, China has not disclosed data about the illness. WHO has repeatedly asked China for information, but the government remains secretive, calling it a mysterious pneumonia. Some refer to it as “walking pneumonia,” caused by bacterial chlamydia, known as Mycoplasma pneumonia.

Question 2: When and why does pneumonia spread in China?

Answer: Typically affecting children aged 5 and below, Mycoplasma pneumonia spreads during cold weather, with temperatures between 8 to 15 degrees Celsius. High pollution levels in China contribute to the bacteria thriving. The WHO declared an alert on November 15, 2023, stating that 13,000 children are admitted to Beijing hospitals daily, reminiscent of the 2019 coronavirus situation.

Question 3: Is this common pneumonia in China similar to coronavirus?

Answer: China’s health authorities claim it is a common pneumonia, not caused by a new bacterium or virus. In contrast to coronavirus, the illness produces large nodules on chest X-rays, known as pulmonary nodules. The nodules mainly consist of bacterial chlamydia, not typically seen in viral infections.

Question 4: If it’s not common pneumonia, what is it, and how does it relate to coronavirus?

Answer: Children affected by pneumonia in China exhibit not only coughs but also nodules called pulmonary nodules on chest X-rays. This phenomenon indicates a co-infection or cross-infection involving both bacteria and viruses, making it severe due to limited effectiveness of medications. If only Mycoplasma pneumonia is present, treatment is possible. China acknowledges this situation. The country has accepted that this is a disease spread by many pathogens.

Question 5: Why is this mysterious disease spreading rapidly in China?

Answer: One reason for the escalating situation in China could be the zero-COVID policy implemented during the coronavirus pandemic. The strict measures imposed during that time might not have allowed many children to develop sufficient immunity against various infections. They remained confined to their homes and lacked exposure to viruses and bacteria. When they eventually ventured outside, they were more vulnerable to diseases due to a weakened immune system, leading to a rapid spread of illness among children.

Question 6: Does this disease affect only children, or can it affect anyone?

Answer: The disease primarily affects children due to their weaker immune systems. This doesn’t mean that it is exclusively a pediatric illness. Because of compromised immune defenses, the disease can impact individuals with less resistance to infections. Those lacking robust immune capabilities become susceptible to this illness.

Question 7: What are the symptoms of this disease spreading in China?

Answer: When the virus strikes, symptoms mostly include fever, respiratory distress, throat pain, coughing, and chest congestion. Sufferers may experience pain or discomfort in various parts of the body.

Question 8: How does this disease spread in China, and can it transmit from one person to another?

Answer: Yes, this disease can spread from one person to another. The transmission occurs when an infected person comes into contact with another. This contagion has led to an increase in the possibility of the disease spreading.

Question 9: Can this disease, spreading in China, also spread in India or other countries?

Answer: If we take China as an example, this disease has spread extensively across many regions of the country, especially in northern areas. Cases have also been reported from neighboring countries like Vietnam. It appears evident that the disease has the potential to spread to other nations. India needs to remain vigilant about this.

Question 10: Can a mysterious disease like COVID be the cause of death, similar to coronavirus fatalities?

Answer: COVID was a viral infection, while this new disease involves bacterial infection, specifically leading to pneumonia. Patients experienced respiratory distress, necessitating ventilator support. Unlike a bacterial infection, which can be treated with antibiotics, this mysterious disease may have additional complications. China needs to share more data to understand if it is solely a bacterial infection or if other factors are contributing to the fatalities.

Anusha Aggarwal

My name is Anusha Aggarwal. With a deep fascination for the science behind health, hair care, skin care, and body care, I'm a dedicated writer committed to helping readers achieve optimal wellness. Through years of research and personal experience, I provide expert insights into the latest trends and techniques in the beauty and wellness.