NCR Sees Stagnation in Pertussis Cases, While Other Regions Grapple with Surge: DOH Reports

NCR Sees Stagnation in Pertussis Cases, While Other Regions Grapple with Surge: DOH Reports

Pertussis cases across several regions, the Department of Health (DOH) announced a leveling off of incidences in Metro Manila. DOH Undersecretary Eric Tayag cautioned that although many areas are on high alert due to pertussis transmission, particularly among children, the numbers in the National Capital Region (NCR) are not rising as anticipated.

According to Tayag, nearly 10 regions witnessed an uptick in pertussis cases, contrasting with the situation in NCR, where cases are stabilizing. This observation underscores a noteworthy trend amid the nationwide scenario.

Within the first 10 weeks of 2024, a total of 453 pertussis cases were recorded nationwide, with 38 cases reported in NCR alone, followed by Calabarzon and Central Visayas. Regrettably, 35 fatalities were documented, highlighting the severity of the situation.

In response to the outbreak in Quezon City, Mayor Joy Belmonte declared a state of emergency after 23 cases were confirmed as of March 20. The city's proactive measures included an emergency procurement of vaccines, supplemented by DOH's provision of 1,500 doses.

Tayag warned of the potential for other regions to declare similar outbreaks, referencing a recent incident in Iloilo City.

Pertussis, transmitted through coughs or sneezes, manifests influenza-like symptoms after seven to ten days, including mild fever, colds, and persistent coughing. Complications in children may include apnea, difficulty breathing, and vomiting.

To mitigate the spread, DOH has emphasized the importance of vaccinating children aged 6 weeks to 23 months with the pentavalent vaccine. A substantial supply of 800,000 to 1 million doses is expected to arrive by June.

While ruling out lockdowns or mandatory mask-wearing, Tayag urged the public to adopt preventive measures such as voluntary mask usage, staying home when ill, frequent hand hygiene, and selecting well-ventilated areas.

As the nation grapples with rising pertussis cases, concerted efforts are underway to safeguard public health and minimize the impact of the outbreak.