Guam- The Department of Public Health and Social Services is advising all health care providers to be on alert for possible cases of pertussis or whooping cough.
The agency has confirmed at least one laboratory case in a 5 month old infant who did not receive any Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine. Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease of the respiratory tract that lasts for several weeks. It develops in children that are not immunized or incompletely immunized. Symptoms are mild but eventually develop into severe coughing, high pitch whooping and vomiting after coughing. Pertussis is transmitted by direct contact with respiratory secretions or contact with freshly contaminated articles from the infected person. Immunization Program Manager Annette Aguon says adults needs to be careful too.
“For older children and adults, with our stronger immune system, the pertussis bacteria may cause to us what they think is the common cold and a bad cough. We’re the ones that are exposing the younger infants and younger children who haven’t developed proper immunity” said Aguon. “And with pertussis, in individuals are who are just developing their immune system or have a weakened immune system due to another medical condition, it could lead to serious complications like hospitalization or even death . And so that’s what we want to avoid.”
The last pertussis outbreak on Guam occurred in 2006. Any suspected cases should be reported to the Bureau of Communicable Disease Control’s Immunization Program. The number to call is (671) 735-7143 .