Fears allayed over spreading lung inflammation among children

Fears allayed over spreading lung inflammation among children

A child receives a flu shot at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in December 2021. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A child receives a flu shot at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in December 2021. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Health authorities say there's no need to panic over the rash of respiratory illnesses and lung inflammation in China, Vietnam and Thailand, saying they result from old pathogens that lay dormant during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said the outbreak of respiratory diseases and lung inflammation among children in China were old diseases that subsided during the three-year Covid-19 pandemic.

Lung inflammation was rare during the pandemic, when people took good care of their health and practised social distancing, he said.

Describing the situation as one of seasonal illness, Dr Cholnan said he nevertheless had ordered health officials to prepare relevant measures to control it, especially in tourist provinces.

Meanwhile, Dr Yong Poovorawan, head of the Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, wrote on Facebook that respiratory illnesses were spreading among children in Beijing and Liaoning, with most patients suffering from high fever and lung inflammation.

The cases resulted from the seasonal spread of viruses, and no novel pathogens had been found. Therefore, people need not be worried, Dr Yong wrote.

Respiratory illnesses were also spreading among children in Vietnam, he added.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, there were effective measures to control respiratory illnesses. As a result, children during that time did not develop immunity to the illnesses - along with children born in the past three years - and thus the viruses were now spreading, Dr Yong wrote.

Thailand has also seen influenza, RSV and rhinovirus parainfluenza spreading among children, he wrote.

Such illnesses will gradually return to the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic, he wrote.

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