WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (WKEF) -- Warren County Health District is warning the public about a pneumonia outbreak after 145 cases have been reported in the county since August, which is more than normal. The illness has been reported in children who are ages 3-14. None of the cases have been fatal.
Dr. Joseph Allen, a Premier Health regional medical director said it is better to be safe than sorry if you see that your child isn't feeling well.
"We would much rather evaluate a child and tell you that hey, there's nothing to be worried about than to wait too long and miss something, have the child end up in the hospital," said Allen.
According to the county, the virus is not a new strain, and it is not linked to any other virus outbreaks around the world. It is also not more severe than in other years.
The Ohio Department of Health does not have a statewide count, according to the statement our outlet received, but the department considers the situation an outbreak because of the unusual number of cases.
ODH added that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respiratory illnesses across the state are minimal.
Here is the full statement from ODH:
The Warren County Health District has reported an outbreak of pneumonia within their community to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). According to state laws, pneumonia without specific identified causes, is not reportable at the individual level, so we do not have a statewide case count. Outbreaks, which are defined as more cases than expected in a particular population for a particular period of time, are considered reportable, which is why ODH learned of the outbreak in Warren County. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that respiratory virus activity across Ohio is minimal. Ohio does not have an unusual number of respiratory disease outbreaks for this time of year. According to the news release from Warren County, the pathogens have been identified there are fairly common respiratory pathogens. There is no evidence of a novel (new) or emerging respiratory pathogen. To protect against pneumonia and other respiratory pathogens, ODH recommends people stay up to date on vaccines, stay home when ill, get tested and seek medical care if appropriate, wash their hands frequently, and wear a mask as needed.
Allen said there are ways to avoid spreading it.
"Good hand hygiene helps decrease that, good cough hygiene, we talk about don't cough into your hands, cough into your elbow," said Allen.
If your kids are having trouble breathing or have a high fever that won't come down, they should stay home and be monitored. Most children will feel better within 7-10 days, but if they are still sick Allen said to bring them in.
Allen acknowledged that there are theories as to why children's immune systems might not be able to fight the viruses as well.
"The theories would be that yeah, we didn't have the kids exposed to many of these things, so then we took the masks off, got them back in school all the sudden they're exposed to all these things and they start getting hit with this quite a bit," said Allen.
He added that he does not think that is the reason in this case since people have not been isolated for a while now, but it is one theory. Allen said environmental factors play a role as to what viruses and bacteria are out there.
Warren County Health District is working with ODH and children's healthcare providers to try to find the cause and prevent it from spreading.