Recently, hospitals in many places have seen an increase in cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in children. How to better meet the medical needs of children? What issues need to be paid attention to in prevention and treatment? How to take further response measures? “Xinhua Viewpoint” reporters visited hospitals in various places to understand the prevention and treatment situation.
As infection cases increase, hospitals work overtime for diagnosis and treatment
A reporter recently interviewed at the First Hospital of Jilin University and learned that in the past two months, due to the increase in cases of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in children, the number of pediatric outpatient clinics in the hospital has continued to rise and the inpatient wards have been strained.
Ms. Liu is taking her daughter for infusion. This is the third day that the child has a fever. “A few days ago, several classmates in my daughter’s class had fevers and coughs, and she was soon infected. When she went to the hospital for a checkup, she was found to be infected with Mycoplasma pneumoniae,” Ms. Liu said.
The reporter learned from many hospitals in Changchun that there are currently a large number of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections, and there are also cases where multiple children from a family live in the same ward. In addition, some primary schools have also seen more cases, and the number of students taking leave has increased significantly.
The First Hospital of Jilin University recently opened a “pediatric dusk clinic” and set up a new pediatric diagnosis and treatment area. Under the coordination of the whole hospital, planning and site selection were completed within 24 hours, and all medical supplies were ensured. In less than an hour after it opened, more than 30 infected children entered the new diagnosis and treatment area and received systemic treatment.
Lu Yanming, director of pediatrics at Renji Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, told reporters that among the patients with respiratory tract infections recently admitted, it is estimated that 70% to 80% are infected with Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Compared with the previous two years, the recent Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections have two major characteristics: a larger number of patients and a younger age.
Huang Yujuan, chief physician of the emergency department of Shanghai Children’s Hospital, told reporters that in addition to general outpatient clinics, specialists and special needs outpatient clinics are also working overtime every day. The doctors’ work is often “continuous at noon and delayed at night” to allow more patients to receive diagnosis and treatment. At the same time, the hospital has also opened a night clinic from 5pm to 9pm. “Everyone tried their best to deal with it,” Huang Yujuan said.
Experts say the public need not be too anxious
Despite the rise in infections, experts say the public need not be too anxious. “Compared with other bacterial and viral pneumonias, the severe rate and mortality rate of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection are generally lower. The general course of the disease is 7 to 14 days, which will be shortened or prolonged depending on the severity of the disease and the treatment plan.” Guangzhou Medical University Yuan Weifeng, deputy chief physician of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the Eighth Hospital of the Affiliated City, said, “At present, medical resources and hospital beds can basically meet the hospitalization needs.”
According to experts, school-age children aged 5 to 9 are most susceptible to Mycoplasma pneumoniae, but children are not limited to this age group. In addition, there has been a recent increase in infections among adults.
Experts said that at present, hospitals basically carry out treatment in accordance with the “Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Mycoplasma Pneumonia in Children (2023 Edition)” issued by the National Health Commission. Mild cases do not require hospitalization. Anti-infective treatment can be given according to symptoms, and some antipyretic drugs can also be used. Antitussives or nebulization can help reduce the immune inflammatory response.
“Clinically, the children with long-term cough we encounter may be caused by the superposition of multiple factors, so a comprehensive judgment must be made based on each child’s condition.” Qiao Hongmei, deputy director of the Pediatric Respiratory Department of the First Hospital of Jilin University, said parents should be careful Follow the doctor’s advice, do not blindly give medication to your child, and do not trust various drug combinations on the Internet.
Regarding the sequelae that parents are generally concerned about, interviewed experts said that the hazards of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection mainly include inflammation and cell destruction, and the related hazards are similar to various common pneumonias.
Zhang Ting, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Shanghai Children’s Hospital, said that Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is an acute infection, and if treated promptly, most cases will have no sequelae. However, Huang Yujuan also reminded: “According to clinical observations, children with underlying diseases such as asthma or primary immune deficiency are more likely to develop severe symptoms after being infected with Mycoplasma pneumoniae.”
How do parents, schools and hospitals respond?
Many pediatric experts said that the current spread of Mycoplasma pneumoniae is still strong, and whether the number of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections has “peaked” remains to be further determined by relevant monitoring data. However, it can be predicted that the recent epidemic of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in children may continue for a period of time, and influenza may be superimposed with Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection in winter. Parents, schools and hospitals must be prepared to deal with it.
Experts say that Mycoplasma pneumoniae is currently generally under control, and medical institutions are also actively taking measures to deal with the peak number of visits in winter and spring.
Dong Xiaoyan, director of the Respiratory Department of Shanghai Children’s Hospital, said that under the guidance of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, the hospital has strengthened the training of front-line doctors. The relevant person in charge of the First Hospital of Jilin University also said that currently, all pediatric medical staff in the hospital are working around the clock and working overtime to provide diagnosis and treatment services to patients. At the same time, corresponding plans have been made, and additional medical staff will be dispatched at any time when necessary.
Wang Weikai, deputy director of Gansu Provincial Central Hospital, said that there is currently no vaccine that can effectively prevent Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection, so the most important thing to prevent Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is to develop good personal hygiene habits. Schools, kindergartens and other places should also pay attention to ventilation and disinfection to avoid cluster infections.
Pediatric experts also remind that with the arrival of winter and spring, respiratory diseases are about to enter the epidemic period. If Mycoplasma pneumoniae “meets” other pathogens, such as respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, etc., it will bring challenges to children’s bodies. Therefore, experts recommend that while paying attention to the prevention of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, you should also get the influenza vaccine as early as possible.
Since Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection is mainly spread through direct contact and droplets, parents and children should try to avoid going to crowded and poorly ventilated public places. They should wear masks when they must go; cover their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing or sneezing. Perform good hand hygiene; also carry out moderate physical exercise, maintain adequate sleep, and eat properly to comprehensively improve personal immunity and resistance.