While cases of coughs and colds surge every winter, a new illness called 'White Lung Syndrome' is taking over Europe.
White Lung Syndrome is a type of pneumonia that leads to dangerous inflammation of the lungs that is believed to be caused by a bacterial infection called mycoplasma pneumoniae.
Symptoms of the disease include fever, coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath and the production of green mucus (phlegm).
It can require hospital care, and is usually treated with a course of antibiotics.
Rates of the broader type of pneumonia have reportedly reached 'epidemic' levels in Denmark, with 541 cases being reported in the week ending 26 November.
Meanwhile The Netherlands has seen a spike in white lung syndrome cases and Sweden and Switzerland have also been hit with the illness.
And, in the state of Ohio, nearly 150 cases of pneumonia have been recorded in the past month as doctors scramble to treat influxes of children falling ill with the infection.
The Ohio Department of Health is now working alongside children's hospitals and other care providers to mitigate the spread of cases.
Hanne-Dorthe Emborg, senior researcher at Statens Serum Institut (SSI) based in Denmark, explained why the illness may be so prevalent now.
She said: "For the past four years, the number of mycoplasma infections has been extremely low, and it is therefore not unusual that we have an epidemic now.
"We have actually been waiting for it since we closed the country after the Covid pandemic.
"Precisely because the number has been so low in the past three-and-a-half years, and there is therefore a group of children who have not built up immunity, we can probably also expect a higher incidence this season than what has been seen during previous mycoplasma epidemics before the pandemic."
This, alongside it being the season for upper respiratory infections (which can, in severe cases, causes lower respiratory infections) has likely caused a boom in cases.
Following the outbreak, Dr Simon Theobalds, GP at Pall Mall Medical, told The Sun: "Pneumonia is an inflammatory lung condition impacting the air sacs and is frequently triggered by bacterial, viral or other microbial infections.
"It's crucial to be vigilant for specific signs that distinguish it from other childhood viruses.
"While symptoms may overlap, pay attention to persistent high fever, rapid breathing and chest retractions.
"Keep an eye out for symptoms like a cough, chest pain and difficulty breathing and if the symptoms persist and escalate, seek urgent medical attention."Featured Image Credit: Credit: Radiopedia/Getty Stock Images