News and UpdatesIn the NewsWhooping cough cases watched

Whooping cough cases watched


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Health authorities are monitoring three suspected cases of pertussis or “whooping cough” cases in Dumaguete City.

Dr. Liland Estacion, Provincial Health Office chief, said two of the patients are “out-of-the-loop” but are still closely monitored while a third case, not from Negros Oriental, is being treated in a local hospital.

All three patients are two to four-months old, she said.

Also, Dr. Estacion cautioned the public against spreading “fake news” that could cause unnecessary public panic due to pertussis outbreaks in Iloilo and in Quezon City. She stressed that the disease is treatable.

The Department of Health on Wednesday reported that the number of pertussis cases in the country reached 568 with 40 deaths from Jan. 1st to March 16 this year, with Metro Manila having the highest number of infections at 58.

Some 28 new cases were recorded from March 10 to 16, the DOH said.

“Regions with the most number of local government units showing case increases thus far are Calabarzon, National Capital Region, Western Visayas, Mimaropa, and Central Visayas.

NCR accounted for 27 percent (58 cases) of the total confirmed cases among all regions,” the DOH said.

Of the total, at least six out of 10 cases (356 or 62.7 percent) were infants below six months old. Three out of four (270 cases or 75.8 percent) of these infants were either unvaccinated or with unknown vaccination history.

Close to seven out of 10 (384 cases, 67.6 percent) of the total number of cases regardless of age either failed to receive any immunization or with unknown vaccination history, the DOH said.

“The number of new pertussis cases did rise from the week of Feb. 4 to 11 (122 cases) to the week of Feb. 18 to 25 (149 cases). This has gone down to only 73 new cases in the week of March 3 to 10,” the DOH noted.

Meanwhile, the DOH said the city health officers of Metro Manila local governments have discussed pertussis intervention.

DOH Undersecretary Nestor Santiago, and Regional Director Rio Magpantay of the Metro Manila Center for Health Development on Tuesday discussed with the CHOs updates on the pertussis cases, actions taken by the LGUs, assistance needed by every city in NCR, implementation of heightened surveillance, and more aggressive routine immunization activities.

The DOH said pertussis starts as a mild cough and cold that lasts about two weeks, and is followed by paroxysms or fits of coughing which lasts up to six weeks.

The disease is characterized by a “whooping” or high-pitched sound in between coughs, especially when inhaling; vomiting immediately after coughing; and low-grade fever.

Infants with pertussis may turn cyanotic or bluish when coughing.

“Pertussis is caused by bacteria – either bordetella pertussis, or bordetella parapertussis. Antibiotics are available and effective against them, and depending on the antibiotic used, and the age and condition of the patient, treatment may run from four to 14 days,” the DOH said.

The agency advised everyone to consult a doctor, and not to self-medicate in case of symptoms.

Pertussis transmission may be prevented by covering coughs and sneezes, regular and proper handwashing, and vaccination. (With reports from Judy F. Partlow)



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