WARREN COUNTY – Since August, Warren County has seen a dramatic increase in pediatric pneumonia cases.
Since August, there have been 145 reported cases of pneumonia in children ages 3 to 14. There have been no deaths.
“Not only is this above the county average, it also meets the Ohio Department of Health’s definition of an outbreak,”Warren County Health District’s report said.
The case number may be higher this year, but the severity of the illness is similar to previous years, and most patients can recover at home with antibiotics.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Adenovirus are among the pathogens recovered in these cases.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae are bacteria that can cause illness by damaging the lining of the throat, lungs, and windpipe. However, the bacteria don’t always cause illness. This bacteria can be spread through coughs or sneezes.
Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can cause pneumococcal disease but doesn’t always cause illness. The bacteria are commonly found in the respiratory tract.
Adenoviruses can cause several illnesses, including cold or flu-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, pink eye, acute bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and acute gastroenteritis. Mainly, Adenoviruses cause mild cold or flu-like symptoms.
These bacteria are mainly spread through coughing, sneezing, and close personal contact. People living and working in crowded settings (such as schools, hospitals, military training facilities, etc.) are at an increased risk. Also at an increased risk are those recovering from a respiratory illness and those with a weakened immune system.
Currently, no definitive cause or common thread is connecting the pneumonia cases. Warren County Health District has an ongoing investigation to examine possible causes and risk factors.
“The average age thus far is around eight years old, the cases span multiple school districts, and there have been no conclusive patterns among the children diagnosed,” WCHD’s report said.
The most common symptoms found are cough, fever, and fatigue.
The Warren County Health District is working with the Ohio Department of Health, local children’s hospitals, and primary care providers to hopefully determine a cause of the outbreak. They also recommend that providers have a lower threshold to test children presenting with the common symptoms listed.
The increase in reported pneumonia cases is not suspected of being caused by a new respiratory virus; it is a large increase in the number of typical pediatric pneumonia cases.
There is no evidence of this outbreak being linked to other statewide, national, or international outbreaks.
“As we approach the holiday season, when many of us will be gathering together with family and friends, please remember to take necessary precautions to protect your health: wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home when ill, and stay up to date on vaccines.”
It is recommended to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, and avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or into your upper sleeve or elbow when a tissue is unavailable.
If you feel unwell, stay home, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, avoid sharing cups and eating utensils with others, and wash your hands often.
“It is not uncommon for respiratory illnesses to spread in the community during this time of year. Following these basic precautions will help protect you and your family.
If you have any questions or need to report a pneumonia case, please contact the Warren County Health District at 513-695-2097.