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Taiwan doctors raise alarm over mycoplasma pneumonia risk following China outbreak

Vigilance urged as mycoplasma pneumonia becoming more resistant to antibiotics

(Unsplash, Myriam Zilles photo)

(Unsplash, Myriam Zilles photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Doctors in Taiwan have raised concerns about the risk of mycoplasma pneumonia spreading following reports of an outbreak in China.

A spike in cases has been observed across China in recent months, including major cities like Beijing and Guangzhou. This has prompted Chinese authorities to issue warnings about the potential for a widespread outbreak, per Global Times.

Mycoplasma pneumonia, often colloquially referred to as "walking pneumonia," is an atypical form of pneumonia caused by the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. While it typically leads to milder symptoms than typical pneumonia, it can still result in persistent health issues, including cough, fever, and fatigue.

Notably, the younger population, including children and young adults, seems to be more susceptible to this bacterial infection. Pediatricians and medical experts are urging caution, particularly for young children, who can experience severe symptoms.

Furthermore, the disease is becoming more antibiotic-resistant, which is a worrisome development.

Taiwan reported cases of severe mycoplasma pneumonia infections among children between 2018 and 2019, necessitating the use of ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation). With antibiotic resistance on the rise, there is a growing concern that young individuals may face an elevated risk of infection over the next five to 10 years, said Huang Li-min (黃立民), a pediatrician at National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital.

This concern is echoed by Lin Yung-ching (林詠青), a Taiwanese medical officer, who said on Tuesday (Oct. 31) that mycoplasma pneumonia infections have become progressively challenging to treat with first-line antibiotics since 2000 across Asia, wrote Liberty Times. The situation has led to additional safety assessments when considering the use of second-line antibiotics, particularly for children.