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The Union health ministry is closely monitoring the new outbreak reported in China resulting in respiratory illness among children. There is a low risk to India from both avian influenza as well as clusters of respiratory illness, the ministry said in a statement. “India is prepared for any kind of exigency that may emerge from the current situation,” the statement read.

The ministry took note of the media reports of a cluster outbreak of mysterious respiratory illness in children in northern China for which WHO has also issued a statement, and said India is prepared for any kind of exigency. 

“Based on the currently available information, an increase in incidence of respiratory diseases in China has been reported in the last few weeks. The usual causes of respiratory illness in children have been implicated and there has been no identification of an unusual pathogen or any unexpected clinical manifestation,” the health ministry said.

Human case of avian influenza virus in China in October 2023

The health ministry discussed the recent human case of H9N2 (Avian influenza virus) in China reported to WHO in October 2023. The overall risk assessment by WHO indicates a low probability of human-to-human spread and low case fatality among human cases of H9N2 reported to WHO so far, the ministry noted. “But the need for strengthening surveillance among human, animal husbandry and wild life sectors and improving coordination was recognised,” the ministry said.

•China pneumonia•

World Health Organization on Thursday sought more information about the rise in respiratory illness among children reported first in northern China. China responded and said the cases were not linked to any unknown pathogen but were a result of the lifting of the Covid curbs.

•Mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China: What we know•

The outbreak came to light after ProMed, a global disease surveillance system, issued an alert over ‘undiagnosed pneumonia’ in China and WHO sought more information from China.

According to reports, the outbreak is not old and could have started in October.

Videos of pediatric hospitals in China crowded with sick children and their parents emerged on social media.

China said this is not a new disease or a new virus outbreak but the circulation of known pathogens like mycoplasma pneumonia.