4 babies in Bacolod, Neg. Occ. hit with probable pertussis: CHO 

There are three babies hit with probable pertussis (whooping cough) in Bacolod City and one in Negros Occidental, a City Health Office official announced on Monday, April 1.

The babies with suspected pertussis are aged six weeks to two months old, who are all currently admitted at Bacolod hospitals, Dr. Grace Tan, CHO Environmental Sanitation Division head, said.

Samples from the four patients will be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine on Tuesday for tests, she added.

Pertussis can cause serious illness in people of all ages but is most dangerous for babies. 

A Department of Health advisory said pertussis starts as a mild cough and cold that lasts about two weeks, followed by paroxysms or fits of coughing which lasts up to six weeks.  

There is a characteristic “whooping” or high pitched sound in between coughs, especially when inhaling. There can also be vomiting immediately after coughing, and low-grade fever, it said. 

 Infants may turn cyanotic or bluish when coughing, the DOH said. 

Compared to cough found in other diseases, the distinct “whoop” or high pitched sound of Pertussis is unique. Bronchial asthma may also have a similar sound, but only during asthma attacks and often without fever or the other symptoms, it said. 

             Pertussis is caused by bacteria – either Bordetella pertussis, or Bordetella parapertussis. Antibiotics are available and effective against them, the DOH said. 

        “A doctor will prescribe 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 4 to 14 days. It is important to consult a doctor and use antibiotics only as prescribed. Do not self-medicate, and always complete the number of days,” the advisory said. 

Pertussis is a respiratory disease. It is transmitted from person to person through coughing or sneezing.  

This transmission may be prevented by good respiratory hygiene: cover coughs and sneezing – do so into disposable tissues/wipes, or the elbow or upper arm (not hands). Wash hands often, or use alcohol if soap and water are not readily available, the DOH said. 

Vaccination is safe and effective against pertussis, it added. 

 Pentavalent vaccines include protection against “DPT” (Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus), in addition to Hepatitis B and Hemophilus influenza type B.  

Infants as young as six weeks may already be given this vaccine for free at government health centers. Children from 1-6 years of age may get a booster dose, the DOH said, 

Older children, as well as adults are advised to consult a doctor or health center for advice on the appropriate vaccine, it said. 

 Pregnant women may ask about the “Tdap” vaccine, which allows for protection of their soon to be born babies against Pertussis,” the DOH said.* 

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