QC declares pertussis outbreak after logging 4 deaths

By Marita Moaje

March 21, 2024, 8:54 pm

<p><em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Quezon City government has declared an outbreak of pertussis or whooping cough after logging 23 cases and four deaths, mostly infants 22 days to 60 days old from January to March 20.

In a news release on Thursday, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she has already ordered the City Health Department, City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and all relevant city departments to beef up the awareness campaign, especially in the health centers, on how to prevent contracting pertussis.

She also advised the public not to panic, saying the city government has mobilized assets and resources to prevent the spread of the disease.

“The increasing number of pertussis cases is alarming and we are taking the necessary steps to prevent further transmission of the disease. We are extending our call to QCitizens who are experiencing symptoms to seek medical care in our health centers,” she said.

Belmonte said the declaration of a pertussis outbreak aims to inform the public that the local government is on top of the situation.

“We will do whatever it takes to curb the spread of this disease. We are mobilizing our own resources towards procuring the needed vaccines to keep our children safe, until such time as the DOH (Department of Health) supply arrives,” she said.

Belmonte said the City Health Department - Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division has been tasked to administer prophylaxis in areas where the cases were reported and to isolate and treat patients.

She also assured that increased surveillance in high-risk areas and targeted testing will be conducted on individuals exhibiting symptoms, including those at risk.

Pertussis is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, resulting in a highly contagious respiratory infection.

It is transmitted through person-to-person respiratory droplets or contact with airborne droplets and exposure to infected or contaminated clothes, utensils, and furniture, among others.

Symptoms include a persisting cough that may last for two or more weeks, mild fever, and a runny nose.

Pertussis is most contagious up to about three weeks after the cough begins, and many children who contract the infection have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks.

Infants and children from two months old should be given a routine DPT (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) vaccination to avoid the disease.

Belmonte has ordered the emergency procurement of pentavalent vaccines and antibiotics for the treatment of cases and prophylaxis of close contacts of patients reported to have acquired the disease.

She also appealed to pharmaceutical companies, suppliers, pharmacies, and medical doctors not to take advantage of the situation and to cooperate with the local government units and concerned agencies to help prevent the spread of the disease. (PNA)