3 positive cases of Whooping cough identified

The Ministry of Health has recently confirmed three positive cases of Pertusiss (Whooping Cough) in Belize.

The Ministry investigated 13 suspected cases of Pertusiss (Whooping cough), and has received preliminary results on five of them, of which two are negative.

The suspected cases were sent for analysis at the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CARDEC) in Trinidad and Tobago. MOH is awaiting final confirmation on the other  eight cases. 

“All the suspected cases came from unvaccinated persons and all have since recovered,” MOH stated via a press release Friday.

There has not been another suspected case reported since September 25.

According to the press release, public health officials continue to maintain aggressive surveillance in the areas that had this small group of cases.

The Ministry reminds the public that children under five years of age are the most at risk. It also advises the public that the vaccines “can be obtained at all public health centers and several private health facilities across the country.”

Pertusiss  is a highly contagious bacterial disease that infects the upper respiratory system. It affects the lining of the respiratory tract and airways, and causes inflammation. It also increases the secretion of mucus, which make it difficult to breathe.

Whooping cough  can be life threatening to unimunized children below three months of age.

Unvaccinated persons are also at risk and can serve as reservoirs for the bacteria.

The symptoms are similar to the common cold, and the infection develops about a week after exposure to the bacteria.

In the case of severe cases, the symptoms can start to show within 10 to 12 days later in children.

The distinctive sound associated with the infection is what doctors used to determine whether or not it’s whooping cough.

It spreads when individuals inhale droplets from the sneeze or cough of a person infected with whooping cough.

DTaP (for children) and Tdap (for adolescents and adults) are vaccines that protect against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertusiss.

The vaccine is given as a series of shots, starting when a baby is two months old.

The ministry also announced that it has enough vaccine supplies to “cover at least 95% of the general population.”

Children  seven years and older and adults who have not been vaccinated should also receive the series.

If in contact with  infected person, it is wise to take preventative antibiotics although you have been vaccinated.

This is important in households with family members at high risk for severe disease, such as children under the age of one.

To reducing vomiting, and lessen the chances of dehydration, drink plenty of water, fruit juices and clear soup.

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