DC area hospitals see uptick in sick visits amidst global concern for respiratory illness

Respiratory illnesses are reportedly wreaking havoc at hospitals in China, raising concerns for the medical community across the country. 

The D.C. area is no exception. FOX 5 has learned hospitals, emergency rooms, urgent care locations and clinics are seeing an uptick in sick visits. 

The World Health Organization is reportedly reviewing data from China after video apparently emerged showing droves of people being treated for what’s being described as a mystery respiratory illness, disproportionately impacting children. 

PM Pediatrics Senior Medical Advisor Dr. Christina Johns tells FOX 5 the medical community is watching what’s happening in China closely but there’s no panicking yet. 

Even so, Johns does say there’s an increase in respiratory illnesses across the board, especially in children. 

China insists the surge in respiratory illnesses there is caused by the flu and known pathogens. The Virginia Department of Health tells FOX 5 it cannot comment on what’s happening in China but is monitoring flu activity across the Commonwealth.

New flu strains or new viruses typically start with undiagnosed clusters of respiratory illness — that was the case in COVID-19. The medical community is watching this all very closely and urging everyone that if you’re sick, stay home.