18 suspected pertussis cases reported in Negros, Bacolod

Pertussis can be prevented by good respiratory hygiene, the Department of Health said.*

Negros Occidental has 14 suspected pertussis cases and Bacolod City has four, health officials said on Wednesday, April 3.

Aside from a 2-month-old baby in Negros Occidental who tested positive for pertussis and has since recovered, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine’s test results of 14 other suspected cases are not out yet, Dr. Girlie Pinongan, provincial health officer, said.

The Bacolod City Health Office sent samples of four suspected pertussis cases involving two-month old babies for testing, and one was negative, Dr. Grace Tan, CHO Environment Sanitation Division head, said.

The Bacolod City Sangguniang Panlungsod on Wednesday passed a resolution authored by Councilor Kalaw Puentevella, SP Committee on Health and Sanitation chairman, calling on the CHO to conduct a pertussis information drive and to encourage parents to have their children vaccinated.

The second resolution also authored by Puentevella calls on the Bacolod Schools Division to encourage parents, students and faculty to wear face masks inside closed spaces and within the school premises to prevent the spread of pertussis.

Dr. Adriano Suba-an, Department of Health 6 regional director, in a statement issued Wednesday said the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit has reported 89 pertussis cases in Western Visayas from January 1 to April1.

Out of the reported cases, 22 are laboratory-confirmed, 46 are probable, while 21 are negative cases. Five deaths were recorded from the reported cases, he added.

One of the primary reasons for the increase of pertussis cases is the low immunization coverage in the region, Suba-an said.

Immunization coverage took a drastic turn for the worse as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, he said.

The DOH in Western Visayas along with local government units have requested the DOH Central Office for additional pentavalent vaccines to immunize children against pertussis, he added.

Pertussis is a respiratory disease caused by a bacteria known as Bordetella pertussis that can be transmitted from person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, Suba-an said.

The public is reminded that pertussis can be prevented by receiving the exact dose of vaccine, as these vaccines are free, safe and effective, he said.

Along with this, transmission may be prevented by good respiratory hygiene and practicing minimum public health standards, such as covering of the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, regularly washing of hands with clean water and soap, and the use of hand sanitizers or rubbing alcohol, Suba-an said.

.“The public is advised not to be alarmed, but to be more familiar and alert with the signs and symptoms of this disease such as mild cough and cold that lasts up to two weeks, followed by outbursts of cough which exhaustion may also follow the intense coughing,” he said.

Low-grade fever may be present and infants may be seen with a bluish skin appearance (cyanosis) upon coughing, Suba-an said.

.He urged those with suspected pertussis symptoms to seek consultation at the earliest onset of infection symptoms to prevent further complications and spread.

Pertussis is treatable and preventable, Suba-an said.*

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