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The pertussis threat: How to determine if infected

by Gaby Agbulos

YESTERDAY, April 1st, 2021, three babies were found to have probable pertussis, an illness otherwise known as whooping cough. This was announced by the City Health Office. The babies were quickly admitted to hospitals as per Dr. Grace Tan, the CHO Environmental Sanitation Division Head.

Following this, Bacolod officials started to sound the alarm on the same day. The City Health Office was quickly ordered to issue a public alert so that unvaccinated children would not be allowed to loiter around, particularly in populous or crowded areas.

They have also approved a P16. 9-million quick response fund to help lessen the spread of the disease.

At present, the Department of Health (DOH) has recorded at least 558 cases of the disease. About 356 of these cases happened with infants that were under six months old, hence why health officials encourage parents to have their children vaccinated for better protection. 

Aside from this, Negros Occidental Provincial Health Officer Gerlie Pinongan recommended going to your physician if you see symptoms of pertussis start to arise.

So far, about 40 child deaths caused by pertussis have been logged this year, as compared to 2023 wherein there were only 26. Iloilo City Quezon and Pasig cities in Metro Manila have all been declared to have pertussis outbreaks. 

This disease has reached the point wherein it has become an epidemic.

Symptoms of pertussis

Pertussis or whooping cough is a respiratory infection that is highly infectious and is often spread through either coughing or sneezing. You are expected to start showing symptoms after 7 to 10 days. Some of the most common symptoms are the following:

  • Violent and rapid coughing while feeling forced to inhale
  • “Whooping” sound when coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Sore and watery eyes
  • Blue lips, tongue, or nailbeds while coughing

Often this disease can last for up to 10 weeks and may lead to other diseases like pneumonia. If you start to exhibit – or know anyone who has started to exhibit – these symptoms, it is best to schedule an appointment with your doctor ASAP.



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