Surge in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections in Hong Kong, expert predicts prolonged upward trend

Insert picture (left): David Hui

9th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong finds itself caught in the grip of a confluence of respiratory ailments, including influenza, COVID-19, and notably, Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections. In recent times, there has been a significant increase in cases of this particular infection. Professor David Hui, Chair of the Department of Respiratory System at the renowned Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), shared his observations during a radio program today, the 9th of December. He revealed that the upward trend in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections began in August this year, with approximately 50 cases reported in that month alone. Subsequently, the number rose from 110 in September to 170 in the period spanning from September to November. Professor Hui predicts that this upward trajectory will persist for some time.

It is noteworthy that a surge in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections has been witnessed in Hong Kong previously, specifically in 2016 and 2019, as indicated by data from the Department of Health. Symptoms commonly associated with Mycoplasma pneumoniae infections include high fever, cough, sore throat, and other upper respiratory tract manifestations. Notably, approximately 5 to 10 per cent of individuals with this infection develop pneumonia. The majority of patients affected are typically below the age of 40. However, individuals at a higher risk, such as the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, may experience severe complications including encephalitis, pneumonia, or renal impairment.