white lung - JASE Medical

Are They Telling Us Everything? Probably Not

If it weren’t for the fact there was so much conflicting information before the Covid-19 pandemic, it would be easier to believe the CDC, WHO, Chinese health authorities and other health professionals that White Lung Syndrome is really nothing to worry about. It wasn’t too long ago that a few months before Covid 19 was declared a pandemic we were told the same thing. And who can forget the infamous 2 weeks to flatten the curve?

The information on where, what, and how these outbreaks of M. pneumonia are occurring has been limited. We will continue to monitor this outbreak and bring reports periodically.

Be prepared, not scared

For now, we can get medically prepared. Check and refill (as needed) your stock of pain and fever relievers, nebulizer treatments and other supplies. One valuable supplement that can help keep your immune system in top shape are probiotics. Probiotics are even beneficial if you do get sick. For instance, they can treat antibiotic associated diarrhea.

Probiotics to curb antibiotic associated diarrhea.

Mycoplasma pneumonia is a bacterial pneumonia, and azithromycin is one of the antibiotics used to treat M. pneumoniae. Whether you or a member of your family are given an antibiotic, one common side effect is antibiotic associated diarrhea.

Probiotics are sometimes prescribed at the same time as antibiotic therapy are initiated to treat antibiotic associated diarrhea. Young children are more at risk for dehydration because of their smaller body size than teens and adults. Dehydration can be life threatening and lead to further complications.

A study titled “Role of Probiotics in Mycoplasma pneumoniae Pneumonia in Children: A Short-Term Pilot Project”  concluded M. pneumoniae can be successfully treated with azithromycin; however, antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is a common adverse effect. This study determined the effects of probiotics (live Clostridium butyricum plus Bifidobacterium infantis) prevented AAD in children with mycoplasma pneumonia when co-administered with intravenous azithromycin. The probiotics also helped reconstruct the gut microbiota, especially the restoration of bacterial diversity, which is important to overall health.

Use probiotics with caution and under the guidance of your care provider

While it has been well documented that probiotics and probiotic rich foods enhance immune system function, there can be some drawback to their use. In the immune compromise population, beneficial bacteria can take over and turn pathogenic. Young children especially need to be monitored if given any probiotics. In addition to probiotics in supplement form, adding probiotic rich foods offer powerful immune boosting benefits to your diet.

Probiotics are powerful immune modulators. The gut-lung axis is poorly understood at this point, however there is undeniable evidence that probiotics, especially Lactobacilli modulate immune response via gut lung pathways. Even though the exact mechanism of action is still being researched, the following are some known benefits of probiotic supplementation.

  • Viral respiratory tract infection (RTI) is the most frequent cause of infectious illnesses including the common cold. Antibiotics don’t work on viral illnesses and there are limited medications available to treat viral respiratory infections.
  • Supplements with L. paracasei MCC1849 can provide protection against influenza virus.
  • Lactobacillus strains have a beneficial role in respiratory diseases including respiratory tract infections (RTIs), asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis (CF) and COPD.
  • The combination of oral L. paracase, L. casei CRL 431 and L. fermentium PCC also reduces rhinovirus-induced common and influenza-like infection. (mainly Lactobacilli) can decrease the risk of respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients by 8-fold.
  • Rhamnosus GG, L. gasseri TMC0356, L. plantarum IM76, L. plantarum CJLP133 and CJLP243 can effectively improve the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. In clinical trials. L. gasseri KS-13, L. casei Shirota and L. acidophilus L-92 have been used to effectively prevent seasonal allergic rhinitis.
  • Common fermented foods, such as live culture yogurt, sauerkraut, miso and other foods are naturally probiotic rich. Check labels for the strain of probiotics the food carries.

Keep your immune system in top shape. Wash hands. Avoid being around sick people. Stay home and keep your child at home if you or your child are sick. In other words, use common sense.

This time of year is historically cold/flu season. Stock up on supplies you may need for all members of the family. Do you own a reliable thermometer? I am surprised how many people overlook thermometers as part of medical preparation!

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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Pandemic 2.0 On the Horizon?

As we settle into cooler weather, holiday festivities and travel, there is a looming cloud that may quickly dampen our holiday spirit.

An outbreak, which started August of this year in China called “White Lung Syndrome” has overwhelmed hospitals and prompted Chinese health authorities to reinstate Covid era measures- masking, stay at home orders and limited travel. The World Health Organization had demanded health records from China on the white lung syndrome outbreak. China repeatedly denies that this is a bioengineered or novel virus and deny claims that their hospitals are overrun with pediatric patients with white lung syndrome. Current CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen echoed this sentiment “We do not believe this is a new or novel pathogen.”

ProMed tells a different story

ProMed, is a global network of medical professionals and organizations that share information about emerging health threats. It is managed by the International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) and is funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On November 21, 2023, children’s hospitals in Beijing, Liaoning and other places were overwhelmed with sick children, and schools and classes were on the verge of suspension. Parents questioned whether the authorities were covering up the epidemic.

ProMED Rapporteur Dan Silver concludes:

“This report suggests a widespread outbreak of an undiagnosed respiratory illness in several areas in China as Beijing and Liaoning are almost 800 km apart. It is not at all clear when this outbreak started as it would be unusual for so many children to be affected so quickly. The report does not say that any adults were affected suggesting some exposure at the schools. ProMED awaits more definitive information about the etiology and scope of this concerning illness in China”.

He goes on to state:

It is too early to project whether this could be another pandemic but as a wise influenza virologist once said to me, “The pandemic clock is ticking, we just do not know what time it is.”

The World On Alert

The WHO has been monitoring data from Chinese surveillance systems since August. This data had been showing an increase in respiratory illness in China. Since then, countries, including India, Thailand and Nepal, are on alert and have ramped up surveillance after Bejing and North China reported overwhelming cases of respiratory sickness among children.

In Ohio, an outbreak of 145 children have come down with White Lung Syndrome since August. Officials are denying that this outbreak has any connection to the China outbreak.

What is White Lung Syndrome?

White Lung Syndrome is not a diagnosis or disease, but rather a cluster of infections that can include (mycoplasma pneumonia, RSV, influenza, and adenovirus). The pneumonia presents as white patches on chest X-rays in affected children. Most of the cases are in younger children with the average age of 8. The term also includes respiratory illnesses such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary alveolar microlithiasis, and silica-related conditions. Experts suspect that a new form of  Mycoplasma pneumonia,(a bacterial pneumonia),also called walking pneumonia is the cause of the outbreak.

From the CDC:

It spreads primarily through droplets from an infected person who coughs and sneezes and can linger for a while in the nose and throat without producing symptoms. Only when the bacteria spread to the lungs, that symptoms and a pneumonia diagnosis may ensue.

Mycoplasma pneumoniae are bacteria that can cause illness by damaging the lining of the respiratory system (throat, lungs, windpipe). When someone infected with M. pneumoniae coughs or sneezes, they create small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria. Other people can get infected if they breathe in those droplets.

Most people who spend a short amount of time with someone who is sick with M. pneumoniae do not get infected. However, the bacteria often spread between people who live together since they spend a lot of time together. other without being ill.

The most common type of infection is tracheobronchitis (chest cold). Common symptoms of a chest cold include:

  • Sore throat
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Slowly worsening cough that can last for weeks or months
  • Headache

Children younger than 5 years old who get Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection could have symptoms that are different from older children and adults. Instead, they may have the following cold-like symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat mycoplasma pneumonia. Historically, Azithromycin has been the antibiotic of choice. (The Jase Case includes Azithromycin)

Something isn’t adding up.

According to Dr Sarah Park, a former CDC epidemic surveillance officer and is currently medical director of medical affairs at Karius, a California biotech company, “There is no indication of a novel virus causing these illnesses,” said Park. CDC director Dr Mandy Cohen echoes those same sentiments: “We do not believe this is a new or novel pathogen”.

However, ProMed paints a totally different picture of the outbreak.

To be honest, when I heard of the outbreak in China – “White Lung Syndrome” I really wasn’t too concerned. However, the contradictory information has me very concerned. We will be closely monitoring developments over the coming days and weeks.

- Brooke Lounsbury, RN

Medical Content Writer

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