After China, an “unusual increase in cases of respiratory infections” with the mycoplasma pneumoniae bacteria is currently observed in France, French health authorities alerted on Wednesday in an urgent letter sent to health professionals.
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The vast majority of infections are mild and heal spontaneously but some cases may require hospitalization, specifies this letter from the Director General of Health (DGS), responsible in particular within the Ministry of Health for health monitoring and security.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern about an increase in cases of respiratory diseases in China and asked Chinese authorities for more detailed information, calling on the population to better protect themselves.
“I had the deputy director general of the WHO, we take stock every day,” said Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau on Wednesday on Franceinfo, when questioned on the subject.
“The Chinese authorities, from what emerges today, there are inevitably uncertainties, are aware of the rebound in pneumonia which is linked to a bacteria called mycoplasma. We know it well (…), it is not a virus,” he added.
“Mycoplasma pneumoniae is a so-called atypical bacterium responsible for respiratory infections, very common in children over 4 years old and young adults,” specifies the DGS.
“It’s a bacteria that responds very well to specific antibiotics, we have them on the territory,” noted Aurélien Rousseau.
“We have six months of stock on these products, but today we have an increase, as in all European countries, in these bacteria,” he added.
The Ministry of Health ensures that the public health agency France (SpF) is continuing its analyzes at the national level to clarify the characteristics and current dynamics of the epidemic.
Furthermore, the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) “ensures reinforced monitoring of the consumption of antibiotics used in winter as part of the fight against drug shortages”.
At the beginning of November, the ministry asked pharmaceutical groups and pharmacists to make several commitments in order to combat shortages of certain medications, a problem which was particularly accentuated last winter.