Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough”, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can cause serious illness in people of all ages but is most dangerous for infants and young children. Health officials in Western Visayas have recorded a 100-percent increase in cases of pertussis in early March.

Pertussis is acquired primarily through direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucus membranes of infected persons. The bacteria may be spread through droplets and indirect contact with articles freshly soiled with the discharges of infected persons.

Its symptoms include a cough persisting for two or more weeks, paroxysms or sudden attack of the illness which usually occurs at night, followed by vomiting and exhaustion.

The DOH urges the community to take preventive measures to protect infants who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Parents are also advised to check the vaccination status of their children and to stay up-to-date with their routine immunization schedule.