4 probable pertussis samples for RITM confirmation: CHO



The Bacolod City Health Office said April 1 it will send four samples of probable pertussis cases to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), for confirmation.

Dr. Grace Tan, head of the CHO Environmental Sanitation Division, said three of the samples were from Bacolod, and the fourth from Negros Occidental. “Cases are six weeks to two months old, all currently admitted,” as of March 30.

The CHO strongly urged the completion of pertussis vaccination for kids five years old and below.

“Vaccination is safe and effective against pertussis,” the Department of Health stressed, adding that there were 64,400 doses of “pentavalent” vaccines in the country, as of March 25, with three million more pentavalent doses arriving at the soonest possible time.

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a respiratory disease, and is transmitted from person to person through coughing or sneezing; transmission may be prevented through good respiratory hygiene, the DOH said.

Pertussis starts as a mild cough and cold that lasts for 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 (“huni”) in between coughs, especially when inhaling. There can also be vomiting immediately after coughing, and low-grade fever. Infants may not present with cough; instead, they may turn cyanotic or bluish when coughing, it added.

DOH records show that 28 new cases were logged from March 10 to 16, bringing the total to 568 since Jan. 1.

“Forty pertussis deaths have been reported. The total number of cases for the same period in 2023 was only 26, making this year’s tally, to date, more than 20 times from that of last year,” Health Secretary, Dr. Teodoro Herbosa, said in a statement.

To date, the regions with the most number of local government units showing case increases are Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Western Visayas, Mimaropa, and Central Visayas.

Last week, the Iloilo Sangguniang Panlungsod passed a resolution placing the City under a state of calamity due to pertussis outbreak, as per a Philippine News Agency report, adding that the City Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit recorded 16 cases with seven already confirmed as positive pertussis. | CGC