As the calendar turns to December, something (viral) must be seeping into the air.
A second U.S. state has identified a curious "outbreak" of pneumonia that specifically seems to be afflicting children.
On Wednesday, Ohio became the first state to put out an announcement that pediatric pneumonia cases in the Buckeye State had officially hit critical mass.
"Since August, there have been 142 cases of pediatric pneumonia reported," the Warren County Health District said in a news release. "Not only is this above the county average, it also meets the Ohio Department of Health definition of an outbreak."
In and of itself, that would hardly be noteworthy.
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Children typically do get more frequently sick as temperatures plummet in December, and Ohio is inarguably chillier than, say, Hawaii.
What's a little more noteworthy is that a similar spike in pediatric pneumonia has cropped up in western Massachusetts, per WGGB-TV.
A local doctor noted to the outlet that a surge in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, was paving the way for a spike in "walking pneumonia" cases.
("Walking pneumonia" is non-medical term for a lesser strain of the virus.)
"So, this is the season for RSV and we’re seeing a whole lot of it … a lot of kids with, you know, upper viral respiratory infections, cough, runny nose, some fevers and the thinking with RSV is that it can cause lower viral respiratory infections, so they get spread to your lungs,” Dr. John Kelley told WGGB.
Kelley further explained that while RSV symptoms can be mild and typically go away in a matter of days, “There are no medications to give to cure. Once you have it, is all supportive care."
According to Kelley, 80 percent of the walking pneumonia cases in this spike are a direct result of RSV, while the other 20 percent of the cases stem from bacterial infections.
What's even more noteworthy yet is that these outbreaks are coming in the midst of two other medical mysteries that are raging on.
In far closer proximity to the pediatric pneumonia, is a strange, inexplicable illness that has ravaged swaths of American dogs.
Fourteen states have declared cases of a mystery illness afflicting dogs.
And while dogs are obviously not children, there is one curious thing linking these two together, apart from both being American problems: The illnesses are going after lungs.
Dozens of dogs are currently suffering from an inexplicable respiratory disease that has cropped up, and nobody appears to have any clue why.
Making this actually noteworthy is that this rash of mysterious respiratory illnesses is cropping up while the rest of the globe is grappling with its own respiratory issues.
India Today noted similar cases cropping up in Europe, as well.
To be perfectly clear: All of these outlets are also noting that there is no grand conspiratorial link between one spike and outbreak versus another.
There is no indicator or reason to think this is anything more than a batch of simultaneous outbreaks in various pockets of the globe, simultaneously affecting the same area (lungs), that just happens to be hitting both canines and humans...
... But it sure sounds suspicious, doesn't it?
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.