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Dr. Birx to Newsmax: Hard to Link US, China Pneumonia Outbreaks

Deborah Birx on Newsmax
Thought Leader: Deborah Birx
December 3, 2023
Source: Newsmax

It’s difficult to prove whether a pneumonia outbreak that has hit children in a county in Ohio is connected to a massive outbreak in China, but still, this will be a tough year overall for the disease, Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House COVID response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, said on Newsmax Sunday.

“It is a bacteria, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, that accounts for 40% of their hospitalizations, right now, primarily in 3- to 10-year-olds,” Birx told Newsmax’s “Sunday Report.” “The good news is it is totally treatable, but it needs to be diagnosed.”

The Ohio outbreak in the Cincinnati area has involved 145 cases of pneumonia in children ages 3 to 14 since August, a caseload higher than normal, reports The Washington Post. Authorities say the outbreak appears to come from familiar pathogens that have no connection to the disease clusters reported in China or parts of Europe.

“What we have to understand is it’s a three-week incubation period much longer than the viruses we’ve talked about in the past, like RSV, flu, and COVID, so even with exposures three weeks ago, these cases are going to continue to rise,” Birx said. “They’re already rising in the Netherlands and in all the provinces surrounding China and India.”

Birx added that it must be made clear that pneumonia is treatable, and so are COVID and the flu.

“What’s important is that everyone knows it’s circulating right now and makes sure that they get diagnosed so they can get the right treatment,” she said. “That’s what I care about. Give people the information so they can get their children or the elderly diagnosed and get the appropriate treatment.”

“Flu is just coming into the Northeast,” she said. “Respiratory, these respiratory viruses are circulating in the South right now they’ll be circulating in the Northeast. Over the next four weeks to six weeks and so flu is just coming into the Northeast. Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is just coming into the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Northern Plains states. Just make sure you get diagnosed and get the right treatment.”

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