Get to know more about the respiratory disease that recently hit Rompin.
In recent weeks, there have been cases of patients being infected with pertussis. Three cases were, in fact, recently reported in Rompin, Pahang, involving a mother and her two children.
As such, the health ministry has taken precautions to prevent more patients from being infected. The ministry, for example, has introduced the vaccination programme, to protect Malaysians, especially children who are most vulnerable to the condition.
“The health ministry’s priority is to ensure the pertussis immunisation coverage among children in Malaysia remains above 95% to ensure they are protected from infection,’ said Health director-general Dr. Radzi Abu Hassan.
“Children, especially babies, are vulnerable to getting infected with pertussis,’ he said in a statement.
Despite talks of an outbreak, he has clarified that no new cases have been reported and the three recent patients are in stable conditions.
What exactly is Pertussis?
This is surely comforting to hear. However, it is important we protect ourselves through individual measures. We can start by getting to understand what Pertussis actually is.
Also known as whooping cough, Pertussis is caused due to the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is said to commonly spread through droplets produced from coughing or sneezing.
And as mentioned previously, children are most vulnerable to the disease. Infants, specifically, are known to suffer the most. In fact, it has been the cause of death for the age group.
Once infected, patients will start to experience symptoms after 7 to 10 days. These include mild fever, runny nose, and cough. The cough will then eventually develop into a hacking cough before turning into a whooping one.
Patients with pertussis are most likely to spread the virus for about 3 weeks after the cough begins. And children who get infected will have coughing spells for about 4 to 8 weeks.
How to prevent this?
When it comes to the prevention of Pertussis, vaccination still remains the best bet. Complete immunisation allows for children to be protected from Pertussis.
The vaccine is usually given to children at the age of two, three, five, and 18 months old. The vaccines are generally safe.
However, minor adverse reactions such as fever, drowsiness, and loss of appetite may occur. But they often resolve themselves in time.
To date, Malaysia has recorded 329 cases and 23 deaths from the infection alone this year (until 19 August).
The trend of pertussis cases in Malaysia, according to Radzi, was in conjunction with global developments, since nations were adjusting to reality after the Covid-19 lockdowns.
“Of the 329 cases reported so far this year, Sabah recorded the highest number of cases at 181, followed by Selangor (51), Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya (15), Pahang (13), Perak (13),
“Melaka (12), Negeri Sembilan (12), Johor (9), Sarawak (8), Kelantan (7), Kedah (3), Terengganu (3), Penang (1) and Labuan (1).”
But no cases were reported in Perlis.