Childhood pneumonia outbreak reported in Southwestern Ohio

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A pediatric pneumonia outbreak has been reported in Warren County, Ohio, which is located in the southwestern portion of the state.

The Warren County Health District (WCHD) has recorded 142 cases of childhood pneumonia since August, which exceeds the average number seen in the county.

“We do not think this is a novel/new respiratory disease but rather a large uptick in the number of pneumonia cases normally seen at one time,” a WCHD spokesperson said in a Wednesday press release.

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The Ohio Department of Health defines an “outbreak” as “when the number of reported cases is higher than what is expected on the basis of previous reports during a non-epidemic period for a given population in a defined time, and the outbreak is not considered to be foodborne, waterborne, zoonotic, health care-associated or institutional.”

The most common symptoms seen are cough, fever and fatigue, according to WCHD.

A pediatric pneumonia outbreak has been reported in Warren County, Ohio, which is located in the southwestern portion of the state. (iStock)

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Mason, Ohio, has so far seen four patients who received some kind of care for pneumonia, a spokesperson told Fox News Digital. 

The hospital has sent requested data to public health agencies.

“Having 140 cases in one county is a bit more than we would normally expect,” Dr. Robert Frenck, a pediatrician in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Cincinnati Children’s and director of the health system’s Vaccine Research Center, told Fox News Digital in an email.

“Every year, we get cases of children hospitalized for pneumonia related to infections such as RSV, influenza or COVID.”

“But it’s not unusual to get outbreaks of virus, as we well know from the pandemic a couple of years ago.”

Every year, Cincinnati Children’s gets cases of children hospitalized for pneumonia related to infections such as RSV, influenza or COVID, the doctor noted.

Child receives vaccines

 “I would definitely use this as a reminder for people to get their flu vaccine,” one doctor told Fox News Digital. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa)

“We haven’t seen very many cases that have required hospitalization yet at Cincinnati Children’s, but it’s still a bit early in the year for flu,” Frenck went on. “I would definitely use this as a reminder for people to get their flu vaccine.”

Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, said there are several potential causes for this outbreak.

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“A global spread is beginning in China, with lockdowns in 2022 leading to ‘immune pause’ and the spread of viruses that have not been seen in a while,” the doctor told Fox News Digital.

Cincinnati Children's

Signage is displayed outside the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 16, 2020.  (Getty Images)

Another factor is an uptick of resistant mycoplasma, an atypical bacteria that is not usually treated with anything other than azithromycin in kids, said Siegel. 

“This is spreading widely and causing more hospitalizations from pneumonia,” he noted.

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Meanwhile, Siegel noted that there has been a steady increase of RSV, adenovirus, flu and strep, which is being “underdiagnosed.”

Girl in mask

Siegel noted that there has also been a steady increase of RSV, adenovirus, flu and strep. (iStock)

“There is also an inadequate supply of amoxicillin to treat strep right now,” he added.

Pediatric pneumonia is typically treated with a course of antibiotics. Severe cases may require hospitalization.

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Fox News Digital reached out to the Ohio Department of Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Warren County Health District for additional comment.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

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