DOH: Pertussis cases '20 times more' than last year

DOH: Pertussis cases '20 times more' than last year

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, the number of pertussis cases this year is "20 times more" than during the same period in 2023.

In a statement, the DOH noted that there are a total of 568 pertussis cases recorded from January 1 to March 16, 2024.

"The total number of cases for the same time period in 2023 was only 26, making this year’s tally to date more than 20 times that of last year," said the DOH.

The Department, however, noted that the cases of whooping cough are already on a downward trend in recent weeks.

From 149 cases during the period of February 18 to 25, it has gone down to only 73 cases in the week of March 3 to 9, and further to 28 cases recorded from March 10 to 16.

"While this may show an improvement, the DOH is cautious in interpreting the trend as the number of cases may still change due to late consultations and reports," said the DOH.

Pertussis is a respiratory disease caused by the bacteria identified as either Bordetella pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis.

It is transmitted from person to person through coughing or sneezing and causes symptoms such as a mild cough and cold, whooping or high-pitched sound in between coughs, and low-grade fever.

To avoid the bacteria, the DOH said the public is encouraged to get vaccinated against pertussis.

"As of March 25, there are 64,400 doses of pentavalent vaccines in the country. The DOH is expecting 3 million more pentavalent doses to arrive at the soonest possible time," it said.

The health department said transmission may also be prevented by good respiratory hygiene.

"These include covering coughs and sneezing by using disposable tissues/wipes, or the elbow or upper arm (not hands), washing hands often, or using alcohol if soap and water are not readily available," said the DOH.


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