84.6 Percent Mainland China Patients Found Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Drugs Ineffective: HKU Professor

84.6 Percent Mainland China Patients Found Mycoplasma Pneumoniae Drugs Ineffective: HKU Professor
Dr. Lau Yu-lung, Chair Professor, Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, calls on patients with milder conditions to consult their family doctor first. File picture. (Liu Junxuan/The Epoch Times)

On Dec. 11, Dr. Lau Yu-lung, Chair Professor of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Sciences at the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, warned in an interview with RTHK, a Hong Kong radio program, that the number of Mycoplasma pneumonia cases in Hong Kong has increased sharply. He also mentioned that a mainland Chinese professor told him that 84.6 percent of mainland patients found the current Mycoplasma pneumonia drugs ineffective.

Recently, the incidence of respiratory diseases among children in mainland China has been persistently high. In a lot of places, it is difficult to get a pediatrician to treat their children in hospitals. Parents queue up in the early morning to register for consultation and need to wait for several to ten hours or more. “Queuing for hours to see a doctor for five minutes” has become a trending topic. Such purgatory experiences of parents with sick children have garnered widespread empathy.

Since October, the number of emergency admissions at the Pediatric Center of Guangzhou Zhujiang Hospital has more than doubled compared with past normal days. The peak daily attendance was around 1,300, which was a significant increase from the peak of more than 800 in previous years.

Dr. Lau said that the number of mycoplasma pneumonia cases in Hong Kong has also surged recently.

He also added that during the COVID-19 pandemic, people were used to complying with quarantine rules and mask orders and had not been exposed to respiratory disease sources in the past few years. This is also the case for children, especially those under three years of age, who had never been exposed to the germs, so they had no immunity. However, with the gradual lifting of all self-isolation and safe distance measures, different viruses took advantage of the situation and started to infect a large number of people in a brief period. He described the current situation as “repaying the immunity debt.” “This debt accumulated over the past three years is huge, and when it needs to be paid off in just one single year, it is quite a big burden indeed.”

According to his observation, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus were prevalent at the beginning of this year, and with enterovirus and rhinovirus also circulating among the population, there is a chance that some people could be infected with 2 to 3 viruses at the same time, causing more serious illness. With the occurrence of Mycoplasma pneumonia occurring in the second half of the year, there are far more patients than before.

Apart from that, there is also the issue of drug resistance among the patients. On this, Dr. Lau also talked about his recent experience at a pediatric development forum in Shenzhen. He cited a mainland professor who stated that the resistance gene effect of Mycoplasma pneumoniae in mainland China increased to 84.6 percent in November. In other words, more than 80 out of every 100 patients using first-line drugs such as “azithromycin” find it ineffective and need to switch to treatment with “doxycycline,” which has more side effects. However, he added that with the gradual improvement in “doxycycline” over the years, the chance of patients experiencing its side effects is extremely low now.

He called on parents not to panic if their children develop cold and flu symptoms. If it is just mild, they can seek medical advice from their family doctor first. However, if they have difficulty breathing, they should take them to the hospital as soon as possible.

Dr. Lau also pointed out that with the temperature starting to drop recently, the virus’s transmissibility will go exceptionally high. Hong Kong will enter its next wave of influenza active period, which will put more pressure on medical services. To reduce the number of severe cases and deaths in hospitals during the influenza virus outbreak early next year, and to prevent outbreaks in schools and vulnerable institutions, he reminded the public, especially the elderly, chronically ill people, and children with weak immune systems, to receive their flu vaccine jabs as soon as possible. He also recommended that people should resort to wearing masks in crowded places, such as when taking public transportation. At the same time, take safe care of personal health and ensure proper indoor airflow.