Potentially Unknown Pneumonia Sweeping Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is having an outbreak that is allegedly much more deadly than the current pandemic of CV according to reports.

South China Morning Post reports, the  Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan has warned of a deadly “unknown pneumonia” after the Central Asian country reported a spike in pneumonia cases since June. Kazakhstan has recorded 1,772 pneumonia deaths since the beginning of the year – 628 in June alone, according to a statement on the Chinese embassy’s website.

“The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus. The country’s health departments are conducting comparative research into the pneumonia virus, but have yet to identify the virus,” the embassy said in a warning to Chinese citizens in the country, according to Newsweek.

Compared to the death rate of the pneumonia COVID-19 – has killed a total of 264 since the beginning of the pandemic in Kazakhstan.

However, Kazakhstan officials are disputing the embassy simply describing it as “pneumonia”. Kazakhstan’s health ministry also argued that the claim published by ‘Chinese media’ does not “correspond to reality”, without mentioning the embassy.

Although there is disputing confusing narratives happening since a Beijing health official has admitted that the “unknown pneumonia” may actually “likely be Covid-19′” siding with Kazakhstan’s officials, Dailymail reported.

The Chinese embassy in Kazakhstan had claimed the pneumonia outbreak ‘is more deadly than the novel CV’ before the leading disease-control expert challenged the country’s own warning on state TV.

Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist of China’s CDC, said that he believed the ‘unknown pneumonia’ was “highly likely to be Covid-19 ‘from an epidemiological perspective.”

He said he had noticed the recent news and read through relevant information online.

Wu noted that it would be unlikely for a new infectious respiratory disease to break out in summer.

Wu added, that the available mortality rate of the ‘unknown pneumonia’ was similar to that of Covid-19.

Kazakhstan president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appeared on national television to address the combined threat of pneumonia and COVID-19.

He declared July 13 a national day of mourning in recognition of those who have died from the virus, news website Euractiv reports.

“The threat of CV should not be underestimated,” he said.

“It’s wrong to keep thinking it’s a common flu, it is a much more insidious and dangerous disease.

“Due to mass non-observance of quarantine measures, systemic mistakes of the former leader of the ministry of health … we are essentially dealing with a second wave of CV coupled with a sharp increase in pneumonia infection.”

The country’s deputy health minister, Azhar Giniyat, told reporters on Tuesday that around 28,000 pneumonia patients with negative CV tests are in hospital, with 98.9 percent of them in “moderate” condition.

Health authorities announced they would begin an investigation into what was causing the spike in pneumonia cases, which had quadrupled in June alone. The Health Ministry said that there were 32,000 cases of pneumonia between June 29th and July 5th with 451 deaths in that short time frame alone. By comparison, the official number of CV cases in Kazakhstan stands at 53,021, with 296 confirmed deaths from the disease.

For further comparison June in 2019 had 7,964 cases last year. While last year’s deaths of pneumonia in Kazakhstan were only 274 in June 2019 compared to 628 deaths in the same month this year, CNN reported.

Chief sanitary officer Esmagambetova said the mortality rate from pneumonia has increased in Kazakhstan four times in June 2020 compared to the same time frame last year.

She added that many of those who have fallen ill were not diagnosed with COVID-19, reported RT News.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also thinks that the unknown pneumonia are undiagnosed CV infections. In a press briefing for the WHO, Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said that the news of this outbreak “is certainly on our radar,” and that the foundation was working with authorities in Kazakhstan to investigate it.

Ryan further said the WHO is now looking at the quality of testing conducted and if some of these unspecified pneumonia cases are due to false-negatives test results for CV, he said.

Ryan noted that clusters of atypical pneumonia can occur “anywhere in the world at any time,” and can be due to a number of causes, including Legionnaires disease (severe pneumonia caused by bacteria in the Legionella genus) or influenza.

“The upward trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the country would suggest that many of these cases are in fact undiagnosed cases of COVID-19,” Ryan said. However, he added, “we keep an open mind.”

 

 

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