The Department of Disease Control (DCD) in the region of Songkhla, is on high-alert as they have noticed a worrying spike in cases of pertussis, more widely known as ‘whooping cough’. The disease particularly seems to have targeted children. Pertussis, caused by B. pertussis, a bacterium, is a highly potent contagion, usually transmitted through actions like coughing, sneezing, or via sharing space with infected respiratory secretions.
An unfortunate incident was reported in Pattani province, the death of a patient diagnosed with the deadly cough. The most susceptible group seems to be those under a year old, representing nearly half of all the cases – 46.15% to be precise, as observed by the DCD.
Describing the nature of the disease, Dr. Chalermphon Osothphrom, leading the charge in Songkhla’s DCD, explains how this particular bacterium causes significant inflammation of the respiratory tract, which then spreads with ease through respiratory secretions and shared belongings. His expert opinion is that the disease typically preys on children.
The symptoms of this treacherous cough pose a significant risk of escalating into severe health conditions, and can tragically even lead to death, especially if the victim is a child. Usually, the infection shows up around 6-20 days post-exposure, starting with mild symptoms like low-grade fever, cold, and coughing, which might last for the next week, quotes KhaoSod.
As the disease progresses, it is followed by the primary symptoms, characterized by a series of uncontrollable, persistent coughs. These fitful coughing bouts could occur 5-10 times, or even more in some cases, causing shortness of breath. A loud, rattling inhale, similar to a ‘whoop’ sound, is often heard in the patients after these exhaustive coughing fits. These symptoms can persist for up to three months.
To curb the spread of the dreaded disease, it is crucial to isolate patients, especially considering the risk associated with young, unvaccinated kids. Good personal cleanliness practices, including wearing masks and frequent handwashing, can surprisingly suppress the spread of the bacteria through nasal and oral secretions arriving from patients.
Dr. Chalermphon insists on those who have been around the patient to be vigilant for at least the next two weeks, observing themselves for coughing symptoms. His advice extends to fully vaccinated children who have shared space with the patient, suggesting they consult a doctor. Children under six years are highly recommended to get their full course of vaccinations as per their age group intervals.
In conclusion, it is extremely crucial to monitor children for symptoms vigilantly, and if any surface, translation to immediate medical help is advised. Get more updates on this serious issue and other interesting stories on The Thaiger’s fresh Facebook page HERE.