Amid childhood pneumonia outbreaks, infectious diseases expert reveals key facts about ‘white lung syndrome’


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Dr. Sarah Park, medical director of medical affairs at Karius, a California biotech company, was formerly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an epidemic intelligence service officer.

She told Fox News Digital that the surge in respiratory illnesses, including cases of pneumonia, is primarily attributed to common pathogens like Mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenoviruses and influenza virus.

The condition has been described as "white lung syndrome," which is a reference to the appearance of the chest scans that show "diffusely damaged lungs" related to severe cases of pneumonia, Park noted.

The increase in respiratory illnesses is believed to be due to a combination of factors.

Respiratory illnesses typically surge in the colder months, but this has been compounded by a post-pandemic effect, according to experts.

"This is the first winter without strict COVID-19 measures, and that has likely led to increased exposure and susceptibility to common respiratory infections," Park said.

"Prolonged lockdowns and other COVID-19 containment measures have limited people's exposure to common pathogens, potentially reducing population immunity levels."