New Delhi, December 1: In a worrisome turn of events, Ohio has reported nearly 150 cases of pneumonia in children, alarming health officials and raising parallels with a similar outbreak in China. The mysterious illness has been dubbed "White Lung Syndrome," with the average age of patients being around eight years old. The spike, meeting the Ohio Department of Health's standards for an outbreak, comes amid concerns that it might be related to similar situations in China and other European nations, causing a COVID pandemic-like frenzy once again.

According to multiple reports, the spike in pneumonia cases doesn't appear to be caused by a new pathogen but rather an uptick in the number of pneumonia cases seen simultaneously. Health officials are investigating the outbreak, emphasising the importance of caution during the holiday season. In Ohio, the spike in pediatric pneumonia cases since August has prompted health officials to classify it as an outbreak. Cases have been reported primarily in Warren County, with children as young as three requiring hospitalisation. Pneumonia Outbreak: Throat Pain, Symptoms Similar to Routine Infections Common During Winter Onset; Specialist Says H9N2 Virus in China Shouldn’t Trigger Panic.

What is White Lung Syndrome?

White Lung Syndrome is a severe form of pneumonia with lung scarring and discolouration. Though the exact cause is unknown, it is believed to result from bacterial, viral, and environmental factors. The Chinese government has reported it as a mix of influenza, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), RSV, and mycoplasma pneumonia, a bacterial infection challenging to combat with many antibiotics. China-Like Pneumonia in Netherlands? Dutch Country Sees Alarming Surge in Pneumonia Cases in Kids, Says Report.


Symptoms of White Lung Syndrome include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. The disease primarily affects children aged three to eight years old, making it a significant concern for parents and healthcare authorities.

Transmission and Preventive Measures

The bacterial infection spreads through respiratory droplets, making coughing, sneezing, talking, singing, and breathing potential sources of transmission. Preventive measures advised by health officials include frequent handwashing, covering coughs, staying home when ill, and ensuring vaccinations are up to date.

The outbreak has raised concerns due to its resemblance to the early stages of the coronavirus. In Beijing, a parallel respiratory illness is causing inflammation in children's lungs. While the World Health Organisation (WHO) demands more data from China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests the current surge is not linked to a novel pathogen. As investigations continue, the medical community emphasizes the importance of vigilance and adherence to preventive measures to mitigate the impact of the 'White Lung Syndrome' outbreak.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 01, 2023 06:11 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website