Researchers predict that the epidemic of mycoplasma pneumoniae infections in Beijing, China, that began last spring will continue well into this year and potentially longer.
From May to December, 2015, the rate of diagnoses positive for M. pneumoniae in children nearly doubled, from 30% to 57%, said Hongmei Sun, MD, a pediatrician who is Director in the Department of Bacteriology, Capital Institute of Pediatrics. As the epidemic continues in Beijing, the investigators predict related outbreaks will occur elsewhere in China, and possibly in other Asian countries, said Sun.
As a result of these findings, Beijing doctors are being advised to be alert for M. pneumoniae, said Sun. The news media is publicizing the epidemic, and advising parents to cooperate with diagnosis and treatment, in an effort to stanch the epidemic’s spread, she added.
“We have started investigating the rate of M. pneumoniae infection in several other regions of China, along with other Chinese Mycoplasma experts,” said Sun. The researchers are hoping to be able to publish the resulting data before this coming autumn, in order to use it to help control the epidemic in these other regions, she said.
The foundation of the research is monitoring of the pathogen in children that Sun and collaborators have conducted since 1977. Since then, seven epidemics have taken place in Beijing. In the wake of the 1990 epidemic, a national training course for laboratory diagnosis of M. pneumoniae was held in 1992, said Sun.