Dec 1, 2023 - Health

Pneumonia rates in U.S. "typical," despite reported spikes: CDC

Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Despite reported spikes of pneumonia cases among kids in two states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says U.S. transmission rates are still considered "typical" for this time of year.

Driving the news: Health officials in Massachusetts and Ohio have reported a sharp uptick in pediatric pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumonia, often the cause of what's known as "walking pneumonia" because of its typically mild symptoms.

  • It comes amid reports that hospitals in China, as well as some European nations like Denmark, have been overwhelmed by a surge in childhood pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.

What they're saying: "As of today, we are not seeing anything that is atypical in terms of pneumonia-related emergency department visits," CDC director Mandy Cohen told reporters Friday.

  • Cohen said she's been in contact with the CDC's Chinese public health counterparts and partners in Europe. So far, evidence suggests an uptick in illnesses in China appears to be from the spread of RSV, COVID-19, the flu and pneumonia, she said. Other health authorities and public health experts have offered a similar assessment.
  • "Based on what we know today, the illnesses are not due to a new or novel virus or illness," Cohen said.

Between the lines: CDC officials say they've been in touch with health officials in Massachusetts and Ohio and that there is enough hospital capacity to handle a surge in cases.

  • The majority of patients are being treated with antibiotics or antivirals and are recovering at home, Cohen said.
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