Indian government monitoring growing respiratory illness amongst children in China

The Indian government said on Sunday (November 26, 2023) that it has proactively decided to review the preparedness measures in view of the recent spike in a surge in respiratory illness among children in northern China.

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New Delhi said it is closely monitoring the situation and indicated that there is no need for any alarm.

“This is noted to be important in view of the ongoing influenza and winter season that results in an increase in respiratory illness cases,” read the statement issued by the Indian government.

“In a letter by Union Health Secretary to States and UTs, they have been advised to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures viz. availability of HR, hospital beds, drugs & vaccines for influenza, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment,testing kits and reagents, functionality of oxygen plants and ventilators, infection control practices in health facilities, at a senior level,” read the statement.

“All States and Union Territories have ben advised to implement ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19’, shared earlier this year, which provides for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI),” the statement said.

“They have also been asked to ensure that the trends of ILI/SARI should be closely monitored by the district and state surveillance units of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP), particularly of children and adolescents. The data of ILI/SARI is required to be uploaded on IDSP- IHIP portal particularly from the public health institutions including medical college hospitals,” it said.

The Centre said it has asked states to send nasal and throat swab samples of patients with SARI, particularly of children and adolescents, to Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDL’s) located in the States for testing for respiratory pathogens.

The cumulative effect of the implementation of these precautionary and proactive collaborative measures is expected to counter any potential situation and ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens.

Recently, information shared by WHO has indicated an increase in respiratory illness in northern parts of China.

Also Read: China witnessing a spike in respiratory illness among children

“This is predominantly attributed to usual causes like Influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2 etc,” read the statement.

As per WHO, the release of Covid-19 restrictions coinciding with the onset of winter season in addition to cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses such as Mycoplasma pneumonia have led to this surge. While WHO has sought additional information from Chinese authorities, it is assessed that there is no cause for any alarm at the moment.