Iloilo City declares pertussis outbreak, eyes state of calamity

Iloilo City declares pertussis outbreak, eyes state of calamity
Photo from Iloilo City PIO

THE Iloilo City Government, through its Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, has officially declared an outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) during Monday’s emergency meeting, March 25, 2024.

The declaration came following the recommendation of the Health and Sanitation Cluster headed by the City Health Office (CHO), which logged 15 cases of pertussis as of March 25, seven of which are confirmed and eight are suspected.

Headed by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, the council passed two resolutions, one is declaring on outbreak on pertussis and the other one, recommending to the City Council the declaration of a state of calamity due to the disease.

The mayor said he will make an urgent request to the City Council, which is expected to hold a special session Tuesday, March 26, for the approval of the declaration.

“We need to access funds coming from the calamity fund; we cannot access it unless there is a declaration of the state of calamity,” Treñas said.

With the declaration, a proposed budget of P16 million has also been approved during the council meeting for the needed measures and responses against pertussis.

A big chunk of the fund will go for the procurement of medicines and vaccines.

“If necessary, we will add more funds,” Treñas added.

CHO data showed that three of the confirmed cases are from Molo, two from Jaro 1, and one each from Jaro II and Arevalo.

According to CHO Assistant Department Head Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, a total of 26,000 children aged 0 to 59 months old from the districts of Jaro, Molo and Arevalo are projected for vaccination.

“If we have an outbreak, we have what we call 'outbreak response immunization', that is why we need additional vaccines. For adults, pregnant women on their third trimester are also high-risk, so we will give them the vaccine also because there’s possibility that they may be a carrier and the baby who is not yet vaccinated will have a big chance to acquire pertussis,” Fortuna said.

Meanwhile, the personnel of the Uswag Molecular Laboratory will undergo training for pertussis testing so the City will no longer send specimen to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

According to the CHO, pertussis, commonly known as whooping or violent cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. In China, it is referred to as the "100-day cough. The incubation period is seven to 10 days.

Individuals at high risk for pertussis include those who are younger than 12 months old, in the third trimester of pregnancy, have pre-existing health conditions, or have close contact with high risk.

Symptoms include paroxysms of coughing, inspiratory "whooping," post-tussive vomiting, and apnea.

It is transmitted through respiratory droplets. Preventive measures include respiratory hygiene, avoiding contact with unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated patients, hand washing with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer, and droplet precautions in healthcare facilities. (Leo Solinap/PR)


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