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What is known about the outbreak of "unknown pneumonia" in Kazakhstan?

Да, мне тоже кажется, что 2020 год перегибает stick, but news is news and viruses are viruses. Thus, in early July, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan warned of an outbreak of "unknown pneumonia" in the country. This came after the Kazakh authorities reported cases of pneumonia in June, raising public concern. The fact is that it still remains unknown what kind of pneumonia it is, whether it is more deadly than COVID-19 and how things are with the coronavirus in Kazakhstan. According to the country's Ministry of Health, cases of pneumonia in Kazakhstan in the first half of 2020 increased by 55.4 percent compared to the same period in 2019; the disease claimed the lives of 1,772 people, of whom 628 died in June alone.

According to RIA Novosti, Kazakhstan consults with WHO experts on pneumonia in the country

"Unspecified etiology"

The health ministry statement alsosome of the reported cases are reported to be common pneumonia, but the cause of infection in other patients is unclear. A ministry spokesman also said it was "potentially fatal pneumonia" and doctors are treating patients according to the COVID-19 patient standard of care.

While the causative agent of "new pneumonia" remainsunknown, "the country's health departments are conducting comparative studies of the pneumonia virus, but have not yet identified it." The Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan recognized the presence "Viral (type) pneumonia of unspecified etiology", however, the danger of an outbreak at firstdenied. Subsequently, representatives of the Ministry explained that initially it was about an increase in cases of all types of pneumonia: bacterial, fungal and viral, including cases of "uncertain etiology", according to ICD-10 criteria, according to which coronavirus infection is diagnosed clinically or epidemiologically, but not confirmed by laboratory tests.

ICD-10 (International Statistical Classificationdiseases and health problems) - a document used as a leading statistical and classification framework in health care. Revised every ten years under the leadership of WHO.

Disinfection of streets in Kazakhstan. In March, WHO released new ICD-10 codes for COVID-19, according to which U07.1 refers to an identified virus and U07.2 to an unidentified virus, which includes a clinically epidemiologically diagnosed COVID-19, probable COVID-19 and suspected COVID-19.

Is "uncertain etiology" a coronavirus?

To date, Kazakhstan has reported 56 455confirmed cases of COVID-19, 254 of which 254 have died. Since June 8, the number of daily confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country has grown steadily, and in three digits, and by the beginning of July, more than 1000 new cases of the disease were recorded daily. Accordingly, the number of pneumonia has increased dramatically.

From mid-June in the western regions of Atyrau andAktobe regions, as well as in the southern city of Shymkent, there are significant surges in the incidence of pneumonia. About 28,000 pneumonia patients with negative coronavirus tests are currently hospitalized, 98.9% of them are in a state of moderate severity. Read about whether it is possible to be re-infected with coronavirus and how it will affect the vaccine, read our material.

Head of the Department of Health of the CapitalNur-Sultana Saule Kisikova told Kazinform that doctors are detecting 600 people with pneumonia symptoms every day, up from 80 the day before the coronavirus outbreak occurred. Every day between 350 and 400 patients are hospitalized with either COVID-19 or pneumonia. According to WHO, to ensure qualityCOVID-19 tests and not to confuse them with pneumonia against the backdrop of an increase in the number of reported cases in the country. Moreover, WHO experts suggest diagnosing all new registered cases of pneumonia in Kazakhstan as COVID-19, but remember that there may be other options.

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One of the possible reasons for the occurrence of "unknown pneumonia" may be the emergence of a new strain of COVID-19, but at the moment there is no reason to draw such conclusions.

Although the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causesCOVID-19 has not been detected in patients with pneumonia, the cause of which cannot be 100 percent confirmed; pneumonia is 99.999% due to coronavirus. It is highly likely that the so-called "unknown pneumonia" is caused by a new coronavirus, and may be due to a lack of diagnostic capabilities.

Zhang Wenhong, Shanghai Infectious Disease Expert.

Wenhun also noted that the most relevantThe challenge for the Kazakh government is now to increase testing capabilities for the new coronavirus and to use advanced sequencing and other technologies to identify an unknown etymology of pneumonia. It is necessary to find out the causative agent of pneumonia, so scientists still have a lot of work ahead. What do you think, is there really a new, deadly pneumonia in Kazakhstan, or is it an aggressive strain of COVID-19? Share your answer in the comments to this article, and also join the discussion of this and other topics in our Telegram chat.