IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


5th December, 2023 Health


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Picture Courtesy: CNN NEWS

Context: After the outbreak of mystery pneumonia among China's paediatric population, a similar illness has been raising child hospitalisation cases in Ohio, US.


  • A respiratory illness known as White Lung Syndrome is affecting children in both China and the United States. The illness is characterized by white patches on the lungs and symptoms such as cough, fever, fatigue, and, in younger children, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, wheezing, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
  • Health officials believe the illness is caused by a combination of existing viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19, influenza, RSV, and mycoplasma.
  • Experts recommend getting children vaccinated against preventable respiratory illnesses and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, physical activity, and good sleep to prevent the illness

White lung Syndrome

  • White lung syndrome, also known as white lung pneumonia, is a respiratory infection characterized by the presence of white patches in the lungs.
  • It initially gained attention in China and has recently been reported in Ohio, U.S., particularly among pediatric populations.
  • The term is used to describe a sudden outbreak of pneumonia caused by multiple microorganisms, including influenza, SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19), Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Signs and Symptoms of White Lung Syndrome

  • Upper Respiratory Symptoms: Sneezing, Stuffy or runny nose, Watery eyes.
  • Lower Respiratory Symptoms: Cough, Fever, Fatigue, Wheezing, Shortness of breath, Development of pneumonia
  • Other Symptoms: Sore throat, Skin rash, Diarrhea, Vomiting

How is White Lung Syndrome diagnosed and treated?

  • White Lung Syndrome is diagnosed based on the clinical symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and chest X-ray or CT scan. Chest imaging can reveal the characteristic white patches that indicate lung damage or inflammation.
  • The treatment of White Lung Syndrome depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the condition. Some of the possible treatments include:
    • Antibiotics, antivirals, or antifungals, depending on the type of infection.
    • Oxygen therapy provides supplemental oxygen to the lungs.
    • Mechanical ventilation, to assist breathing in severe cases.
    • Steroids or immunosuppressants, to reduce inflammation and immune response.
    • Fluids and electrolytes, to prevent dehydration and maintain blood pressure

Preventive Measures

  • Vaccination: Children are advised to get vaccinated to prevent the outbreak. This may include vaccines for influenza and other respiratory infections.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Measures: Maintain a balanced diet, Engage in regular physical activity, Ensure good quality sleep.
  • Personal Hygiene: Practice regular handwashing, Cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Masking and Physical Distancing: Use masks, especially in crowded or public places. Practice physical distancing to reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
  • Flu Vaccination: Getting vaccinated for influenza is emphasized as a preventive measure.


  • "White Lung Syndrome" is a colloquial term for respiratory infections causing lung inflammation; recent outbreaks in China and the US are linked to known pathogens, not new threats. Vigilance and timely medical attention are crucial during such outbreaks.

Must Read Articles:

AVIAN INFLUENZA VIRUS (H9N2): https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/avian-influenza-virus-h9n2

MYCOPLASMA PNEUMONIAE: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/mycoplasma-pneumoniae


Q. What are the major challenges and effective public health measures in managing and preventing the spread of communicable diseases in India, considering the diverse socio-economic, cultural, and geographic factors that influence healthcare in the country?