Fact Check: Are Pneumonia Cases In AIIMS Delhi Related To Spike In China?

New Delhi: The central government on Thursday dismissed a media report linking the detection of bacterial cases in AIIMS Delhi to the recent surge in pneumonia cases in China as “misleading and ill-informed.”

“A recent media report in a national daily has claimed that AIIMS Delhi has detected seven bacterial cases linked to the recent surge in pneumonia cases in China. The news report is ill-informed and provides misleading information,” said the government in a statement. The statement clarified that these seven cases have no link whatsoever to the recent surge in respiratory infections in children reported from some parts of the world, including China.

“The seven cases have been detected as part of an ongoing study at AIIMS Delhi in the six-month period (April to September 2023) and are no cause for worry,” the statement said, adding that since January 2023 till date, no mycoplasma pneumonia was detected in the 61 samples tested at the Department of Microbiology at AIIMS.

“Mycoplasma pneumonia is the commonest bacterial cause of community-acquired pneumonia. It’ the reason for nearly 15-30 per cent of all such infections. Such surge has not been reported from any part of India,” the statement read and added that the Union Health Ministry is in touch with the state health authorities and is keeping a close watch on the situation on an everyday basis.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae, the bacteria linked to the recent rise in cases of respiratory illness (pneumonia) among children in China, has been found by AIIMS, New Delhi, in seven samples between April and September this year, The Times of India reported, citing a report published in ‘Lancet Microbe’, which said that one case was detected through PCR test carried out at early stages of the infection and six cases detected through IgM Elisa test that can be carried even at later stages.

Notably, China experienced hospitalisations due to numerous cases of pneumonia among children, attributed to the bacteria M-Pneumoniae, which quickly spread across the world including the US, the UK, and Israel.

Due to the surge, an alert was issued to monitor this walking pneumonia virus. In India, surveillance of the virus is being done at AIIMS Delhi and other centres.

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