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DOH reports 862 pertussis cases, 49 deaths nationwide

April 3 ------ The Department of Health (DOH) recorded a total of 862 pertussis cases from the beginning of the year to March 23, with 49 deaths attributed to the disease. Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa emphasized the urgency of the situation, stressing the need for swift action to contain the outbreak. "Time is of the essence," he said, highlighting the DOH's efforts to collaborate with local health authorities to provide critical guidance and support in curbing the spread of the disease. 


Based on the DOH data, several regions in the Philippines have been particularly hard-hit by the outbreak, with MiMaRoPa, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, and Western Visayas, reporting 187, 158, 132, 121, and 72 cases. Alarmingly, it revealed that the majority of pertussis cases which is 79 percent involve children under the age of five, with a significant portion either “unvaccinated” or “lacking vaccination history.” 


Adults aged 20 and older represent only a small fraction with four percent of reported cases. Meanwhile, the DOH disclosed that the surge in pertussis cases is not limited to the Philippines, as evidenced by a similar trend observed in other countries like the United Kingdom, where 553 cases were recorded in England during January 2024 alone. With this data, the health agency is cautious in interpreting trends, citing the possibility of fluctuating case numbers due to delayed consultations and reports. It also said that the impact of intensified immunization efforts to combat the outbreak may not manifest in the data until four to six weeks later. 


Pertussis or whooping cough 

Moreover, Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, presents with symptoms including severe coughing fits, vomiting, and fever. Infants, in particular, may exhibit cyanosis or bluish discoloration during coughing episodes. It explained that the transmission of pertussis occurs through respiratory droplets, underscoring the importance of respiratory hygiene measures such as covering coughs and sneezes. Additionally, frequent handwashing, and proper face masks, especially in crowded or poorly ventilated settings are advised. 


Pentavalent vaccine 

The Department underscored that “vaccination” remains a cornerstone in the fight against pertussis, with the DOH urging parents to ensure their children receive timely immunizations. Pentavalent vaccines, which offer protection against pertussis along with other diseases such as diphtheria and tetanus, are available free of charge at government health centers. Also, pregnant women are encouraged by the DOH to inquire about the Tdap vaccine to safeguard their newborns from pertussis. In response, the health agency maintains its vigilant monitoring and proactive measures to address pertussis, known as "ubong dalahit" or "tapering" in Filipino, across the nation. 


The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday, April 2, recorded a total of 862 pertussis cases from the beginning of the year to March 23, with 49 deaths attributed to the disease. 




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