Davao City logs 2 pertussis cases

2 infants are confirmed to have pertussis, while SPMC logs 10 cases of pertussis
Davao City logs 2 pertussis cases

THE City Health Office (CHO) revealed that there are already two residents of Davao City who are confirmed to have pertussis. 

Dr. Julinda Acosta, head of the CHO-technical division, said during the ISpeak media forum, on Thursday afternoon, April 4, 2024, at the DepEd Division Office on Quirino Avenue, this city that the first case is a four-month-old baby from Agdao and the second case is a three-month-old baby from Barangay 9-A.

Acosta said that the first case of pertussis did not receive any vaccination, while the second case received one dose of vaccination. She said that with the two cases, the city will not yet declare an outbreak of pertussis. 

“Dili nato tagaan og chance ang kagaw o bacteria labi na ang pertussis nga kagaw nga mutakod sa ilaha (We will not give a chance to the bacteria, particularly the pertussis bacteria, to spread),” she said. In 2023, CHO recorded a total of 25 cases of pertussis through the confirmatory tests.  

However, Dr. Delta S. Aguilar, Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Head of Infectious Disease Cluster for Reemerging Diseases of the Department of Pediatrics of SPMC, said that there are already 10 cases in Davao City alone for the first quarter of this year.

“Our cases in the first quarter of the year are about ten cases already to date,” she said during the Wednesdays Habi at Kape, April 3, 2024, at the Ayala Malls Abreeza.

When asked about the discrepancy in their data, Acosta explained that the 10 cases of pertussis recorded by the SPMC are not all coming from Davao City. She said some of these cases come from other places and were just diagnosed with the disease at the SPMC. Still, Aguilar expressed that compared to last year in the same quarter, there was only one case of pertussis compared to this year’s 10.

Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease if the child has been administered with the Pentavalent (Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Hib, HupB) vaccine. 

Decreasing children receiving successive doses of vaccine

For 2023, CHO said that based on their data, the percentage of children who got their first dose of the Pentavalent vaccine is 82.8 percent, while the second dose is 80.7 percent, and 80.2 percent for the third dose.As of February 2024, the percentage of children who had their first dose of the Pentavalent vaccine is 13.4 percent, while for the second and third doses, they have the same percentage at 12.6. Acosta said that for the succeeding doses, the number of children decreases when it should be the same.Overall, in the first quarter of 2024, the percentage of Fully Immunized Child (FIC) was only 9.1 percent instead of 15 percent.

Actions taken vs pertussis

SPMC is intensifying its education awareness and vaccination against pertussis. Aguilar said that vaccines against pertussis are readily available in all health centers in the region. During the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, many patients refused to get their children vaccinated due to fear and vaccine hesitancy, and some have difficulty getting access to it because of the restrictions.     

Vaccination against pertussis is free for infants as young as six weeks old at any government health clinic. A booster dosage may be administered to children aged one to six. Adults and older children should visit a doctor or health facility for guidance on proper immunization. Pregnant women may also inquire about vaccinations, which help protect their newborns from the disease.

Meanwhile, the CHO said that they plan to conduct Periodic Intensification of Routine Immunization (PIRI) in the last week of April from Monday to Saturday, which is in line with World Immunization Week.

The office plans to call the attention of all the 182 barangay captains in the city to help locate babies ages zero to three months old be vaccinated with the Pentavalent vaccine.

Acosta shared that every health center designates Wednesday as the routine vaccination day and health workers also ramp up their catch-up immunizations wherein they determine the children who do not return to the center for their succeeding doses of vaccination.

Apart from getting a vaccine shot, both SPMC and CHO highlighted the role of good hygiene practices, like proper handwashing and covering your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, enough sleep, and drinking lots of water. They said these practices play an important part in keeping the disease from spreading. 

Moreover, Aguilar assured that the pediatrics department of SPMC is prepared for the spike in pertussis cases. She said that even before DOH announced the increasing pertussis cases, SPMC had already addressed the issue by intensifying its vaccination drive and informing parents of the benefits of the vaccine.

What is pertussis or whooping cough?

Pertussis is caused by bacteria, specifically Bordetella pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis. It is critical to visit a doctor and only use antibiotics as directed by the attending physician. DOH stressed that patients should not self-medicate and always finish the prescribed medication for a certain number of days.

The bacteria could spread by droplets produced by an infected person when he coughs or sneezes. People who live in heavily crowded places or have weakened immune systems, such as the younger and elderly population, pregnant women, and those without vaccination, are more likely to get it.

Around 568 cases of pertussis were reported nationwide between January and March 16, 2024, according to DOH data. There have been 40 documented deaths out of that total. 

In 2023, there were only 23 cases of pertussis, making 2024 20 times higher than the previous year. RGP

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