Preventive measures intensified amid pertussis outbreak in Iloilo City

Posted by watchmen
April 8, 2024


The Iloilo City Health Office (CHO) has intensified its preventive measures against pertussis or whooping cough following the outbreak declaration for the said respiratory disease in the metro.

CHO assistant department head Dr. Roland Jay Fortuna, in a media interview, presented the health department’s response to the outbreak, highlighting the importance of intensified preventive measures to prevent the spread of cases.

Among the responses mentioned by Fortuna include raising awareness about the disease, encouraging community participation, ramping up immunization efforts, conducting surveillance, ensuring proper treatment for the infected individuals, and securing the needed medical supplies.

Fortuna acknowledged the crucial role of vaccinations in preventing the disease, particularly in infants and young children, noting that vaccines supplied by the Department of Health (DOH) were reserved for children’s primary immunization schedules at health centers.

He added that CHO targets providing booster doses or to complete the primary immunization of children six weeks to 59 weeks old, prioritizing districts with reported cases.

Data from Department of Health (DOH) 6, as of April 1, indicated that out of the 17 reported cases, nine were already laboratory confirmed, which came from the districts of Jaro, Arevalo and Molo; while five are classified as probable and three were negative.

The CHO further stressed the importance of timely case identification to provide appropriate treatment and curb further transmission, as well as the implementation of strict hygiene practices, such as handwashing with soap and water, wearing masks, and maintaining physical distance.

CHO explained that pertussis can be acquired primarily through direct contact with discharges from the respiratory mucus membranes of the infected person; and symptoms of this disease include a cough persisting for two or more weeks, paroxysms which usually occur at night, followed by vomiting and exhaustion.

Meanwhile, aside from the outbreak declaration, the Iloilo City Council approved the declaration of state of calamity status due to the cases of pertussis in the metro.

With the approval of the calamity declaration, the city government is set to utilize its P16 million quick response fund, which would be primarily used to procure medicines and vaccines.

The allocation will finance different treatment responses, including antibiotics for consumption during the first one to two weeks before coughing paroxysms occur to reduce severity of symptoms; post-exposure prophylaxis to be recommended for all asymptomatic close contacts within 21 days of onset of symptoms; and post-exposure vaccination for unimmunized and incompletely immunized children less than 10 years old, children above 10 years old who have not received pertussis vaccine in the last five years, and pregnant women in their 3rd trimester.

The personnel of the Uswag Molecular Laboratory will also undergo training for pertussis testing, so the city will no longer send specimens to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. (PIA Iloilo)

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