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Understanding Pertussis: What You Need to Know About Whooping Cough

The disease is characterized by the high-pitched sound made at the end of the cough

Pertussis or Whooping Cough

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough or “tuspirina” in Filipino, has seen localized outbreaks in various parts of the Philippines, prompting concerns among health authorities. This article aims to provide essential information about pertussis, its symptoms, vaccination, and recent outbreaks. here are some details according to the report of Rappler.

What is Pertussis?

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection. It spreads easily through airborne droplets from coughs or sneezes, making it a significant public health concern.

Health experts have noted a global trend of rising pertussis cases, seen not only in the Philippines but also in other countries like the United Kingdom and Canada. Low vaccination rates, especially among vulnerable children, contribute to the increase in cases.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of pertussis include mild fever, colds, and prolonged coughing lasting 7 to 10 days. It typically takes around 10 days from direct contact for symptoms to appear. The characteristic high-pitched sound at the end of the cough distinguishes pertussis from other respiratory illnesses.

Vaccination is crucial in preventing pertussis, particularly among children aged 6 months to 10 years old. Vaccines such as DPT-HepB-HiB and MMR provide protection against various diseases, including pertussis. The Department of Health encourages the public to avail themselves of free vaccinations offered at local health centers.

Current Situation in the Philippines

The Philippines has seen a significant increase in pertussis cases, with 453 cases reported in the first 10 weeks of 2024 alone. This surge is concerning compared to the relatively low numbers reported in previous years. Metro Manila has recorded the highest number of cases, followed by Calabarzon and Central Visayas.

Several local government units have declared localized outbreaks of pertussis, including Quezon City and Iloilo City. In Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte declared an outbreak following 23 reported cases, including fatalities among infants. Iloilo City’s health office recommended declaring a localized outbreak in specific districts after five cases were reported, all involving children.

Treatment Options for Pertussis Vary by Age

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a bacterial respiratory infection that requires appropriate treatment to manage symptoms and prevent complications. The choice of treatment may vary depending on the age of the affected individual.

For Persons 1 Month of Age and Older

Macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin are preferred for the treatment of pertussis in individuals aged 1 month and older. These antibiotics are effective in combating the bacteria responsible for pertussis and are generally well-tolerated in this age group.

For Persons 2 Months of Age and Older

In addition to macrolides, an alternative treatment option for pertussis in individuals aged 2 months and older is trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. This combination antibiotic is considered effective against pertussis bacteria and may be used as an alternative when macrolides are not suitable or available.

Considerations for Treatment

When determining the appropriate treatment for pertussis, healthcare providers consider factors such as the age of the patient, any underlying medical conditions, and the presence of allergies or intolerances to specific antibiotics. Additionally, treatment may be tailored based on the severity of symptoms and the presence of complications.

Conclusion

Pertussis remains a significant public health concern in the Philippines and worldwide, emphasizing the importance of vaccination and early detection. Heightened awareness, vaccination campaigns, and targeted interventions are crucial in controlling and preventing further spread of the disease.

Read Also: Leptospirosis Cases Surge in Flooded Davao Region, Prompting Concern

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