Guwahati, Nov 24: Chinese authorities, in response to the World Health Organization's inquiry regarding a rise in respiratory illnesses and pneumonia clusters in children, reported on Thursday that they found no signs of "unusual or novel diseases" in the country.
The World Health Organization has been closely monitoring data from Chinese surveillance systems since mid-October 2023, specifically noting a spike in cases of respiratory illness among children in northern China.
Despite the official request for more information, the Chinese government did not provide any public comment on Thursday following the UN health agency's announcement the previous day.
The WHO said it held a teleconference on Thursday with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Beijing Children's Hospital, facilitated by the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention.
"Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations, including in Beijing and Liaoning, but only the aforementioned general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens," the WHO said in a statement.
WHO noted that authorities at China’s National Health Commission on Nov. 13 reported an increase in respiratory diseases, which they said was due to the lifting of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
"They further stated that the rise in respiratory illness has not resulted in patient loads exceeding hospital capacities."
"WHO is closely monitoring the situation and is in close contact with national authorities in China. WHO will continue to provide updates as warranted."
The organisation recommended that people in China follow measures to reduce the risk of respiratory illness.
These include recommended vaccines against flu, Covid-19 and other respiratory pathogens; keeping distance from people who are ill; staying home when ill; getting tested and medical care as needed; and wearing masks as appropriate.
"WHO does not recommend any specific measures for travellers to China," it added.