Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu report pertussis cases

Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu report pertussis cases
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HEALTH officials in the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu in Cebu have confirmed logging pertussis cases, including several suspected pertussis cases, especially among children and infants.

Agnes Realiza, head of the Lapu-Lapu City Health Office (LCHO), and Debra Catulong, head of the Mandaue City Health Office (MCHO), said in an interview with SunStar Tuesday, March 26, 2024, that they have been increasing the administration of pentavalent vaccines to contain the spread of the disease, particularly among toddlers and infants.

They have also been conducting catch-up vaccinations, or administering vaccines to those who missed out on a particular vaccine at the recommended age or missed a scheduled vaccination dose.

The pentavalent vaccine, as defined by the World Health Organization, protects children and infants from potentially deadly diseases, which include diphtheria, tetanus, Hib, hepatitis B, and pertussis.

Realiza reported on March 25 that there was only one confirmed case of pertussis in Lapu-Lapu, while 15 were suspected to be pertussis cases. These 15, however, were later identified to be not related to the respiratory illness.

Catulong, for her part, did not give an exact number but confirmed that Mandaue City also has confirmed and suspected cases of the disease.

Both Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have had no outbreaks of pertussis, said the two officials.

Early consultation

Both Realiza and Catulong recommended that parents should seek immediate medical consultation, such as visiting the LCHO and MCHO, if they notice that their children have coughs and colds.

Catulong also reminded parents to follow the instructions for medication intake and isolate the pertussis-infected child from other children to prevent contamination.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pertussis, commonly known as "whooping cough," is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that can affect people of all ages but is especially dangerous for babies. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

The bacteria spread easily from person to person through the air.

The CDC said the whooping cough can only be contracted from other humans.

The early symptoms of pertussis include a runny or stuffy nose, a mild and occasional cough (mostly common for adults), low-grade fever (less than 38 degrees Celsius), apnea (life-threatening pauses in breathing), and cyanosis (turning blue or purple) in babies and toddlers.

If left untreated for two weeks, the infected person may start to develop whooping cough, which is later accompanied by paroxysms -- rapid, violent, uncontrollable coughing fits that can cause the infected person to struggle to breathe and vomit that last up to 10 weeks.

The CDC said babies infected with pertussis are likely to suffer from difficulty in breathing, while teenagers and adults generally have milder symptoms.

Hand washing

Realiza and Catulong advised the public to practice proper handwashing and resume wearing face masks to prevent the spread of the disease.

The two health officials emphasized the importance of vaccinating children against common diseases like pertussis and seeking regular check-ups at health centers.

Realiza said they continue to conduct health education for parents in Lapu-Lapu to properly take care of their children and ensure they receive ample nutrition.

Expected to rise

In the past week, three cities in the Philippines -- Quezon, Pasig, and Iloilo -- have declared an outbreak of pertussis.

Quezon and Pasig recorded almost 50 cases and six deaths, while Iloilo reported 15 cases with eight suspected cases.

Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Eric Tayag said many areas in the country are on high alert due to the spread of pertussis, especially among children. The DOH expects the number of cases to continue to rise.

Within the first 10 weeks of 2024, 453 Filipinos across the country were diagnosed with pertussis.

The National Capital Region reported the highest number of cases with 38, followed by Calabarzon and Central Visayas.

So far, 35 people have died due to this infection, said the DOH. (HIC)


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