Pertussis cases increase in C. Luzon, 4 other regions

Pertussis cases increase in C. Luzon, 4 other regions
SunStar Local News GPX

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO --- The Department of Health (DOH) reported on Tuesday that the number of Pertussis cases known as "ubong dalahit" or "tusperina" have been increasing in Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Cagayan Valley, Caraga, and Cordillera Autonomous Region for the past six weeks.

From January 1 to March 30, 2024, the agency recorded a total of 1,112 cases with 54 deaths.

The cases are nearly 34 times compared with the same period last year with only 32 cases logged.

For purposes of outbreak response, data on the growth rate of cases is more pertinent to the DOH compared to the total number of cases, per given area.

Of the total Pertussis cases recorded, 77 percent are less than five years old.

Adults aged 20 and older account for only around 4.0 percent of cases.

"The DOH is cautious in interpreting trends. The number of cases may still change as there may be late consultations and reports. Furthermore, the effects of increasing immunization efforts to stem the outbreak may not be seen in the data until four to six weeks after they are started," the agency said.

DOH assured the public that immunization is underway, despite the national government's pentavalent (“5-in-1”) vaccine stocks reportedly at 64,400 doses last March 25 are running low.

DOH Secretary Teodoro J. Herbosa said he has ordered other options.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis (DTP) shall be used to prevent gaps while waiting for the new batch of 3-million pentavalent vaccines, adding that the the private sector continues to have stocks of pentavalent and TDaP vaccines, he added.

“We anticipate a shortage in government pentavalent vaccine supply by May, and this is the gap we are now addressing. We will have another type of vaccine, the DTP – Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis. Also, there are pentavalent and TDaP vaccines available for purchase in the private sector; there is no physical shortage. We will welcome any offers of support and assistance from our private sector partners,” said Herbosa.

Pertussis is caused by bacteria, either Bordetella pertussis or Bordetella parapertussis and is transmitted from person to person through coughing or sneezing.

The DOH warned the public not to self-medicate, but instead consult a doctor who will prescribe antibiotics and a course of treatment that should start as early as possible.

Depending on the antibiotic used and the age and condition of the patient, treatment may run from four to 14 days.


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