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DOH: 4 Cases of walking pneumonia detected in Philippines

MANILA, December 7 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed four cases of mycoplasma pneumoniae or "walking pneumonia" in the Philippines. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a common bacterial infection which typically affects younger children. It is readily treated with antibiotics, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The 4 cases of walking pneumonia were detected among reported influenza-like illnesses (ILI) as of Nov. 25, the DOH said.  

It said walking pneumonia is "not a novel or new pathogen and has been previously detected among local cases". DOH also clarified walking pneumonia is "not a notifiable disease globally". "The DOH can scan but we depend on what the media or the World Health Organization (WHO) will report. So far, the only country that has recorded incidents of Mycoplasma pneumonia is China," it said.


Health Secretary Ted Herbosa on Wednesday said there was no outbreak of walking pneumonia in the Philippines. "Not only in China but now other countries in Europe have recorded increase in respiratory illness in children. Attributed po ito sa hindi bagong virus, kundi sa previous microbes: microplasma pneumonia, yung Respiratory Syncytial Virus at saka yung influenza," he said. "Sa Philippines po, wala pang outbreak according to our epidemiology bureau, although marami ang cases because. Ito po talaga yung season ng respiratory illness," the official added. 

But the DOH said Tuesday that the said disease could have already entered the country and was not just being officially categorized as walking pneumonia. "Nagkaroon na tayo niyan. Maraming taon na na-confirm dito sa atin, maaaring meron kaya lang di naco-confirm. Ang pagbibigay ng antibiotics ay sapat na na maghinala tayo na meron din tayo no'n," said DOH Undersecretary Eric Tayag. "Kung sakaling ang ubo niyo ay tumatagal nang 2 hanggang 4 na linggo, maaaring ito ay walking pneumonia," he added. 


"Existing surveillance is among ILI (influenza-like illnesses) cases only," the DOH added. This year, ILI cases started to increase in late August. The surge was sustained over the next several weeks. However, the case increase has started to slow down with a total of 9,834 ILI cases reported between October 29 and November 11. This is 11 percent lower than the 11,106 cases reported two weeks prior," the agency said in its written response to reporter. "Based on the five-year data, ILI cases are expected to continue declining in the coming weeks but are expected to rise again by the start of January," it added.

The DOH has recorded around 180,000 cases of respiratory illnesses as of Nov. 11. To prevent respiratory infections from further increasing during the upcoming holiday season, DOH urged the public to perform individual self assessment, mask up, ensure adequate ventilation, isolate when sick, and getting vaccinated and boosted. Herbosa also urged the public to practice social distancing and proper cough etiquette. He advised parents, "Kung may sakit ang bata, wag nang papapasukin para hindi makahawa ng ibang bata sa eskwelahan."  


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