Pertussis – Colombia

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(No specific date, Approx. – March 23, 2022) – Whooping cough outbreak has been identified in Dibulla, La Guajira, Colombia among 17 children. The majority of the individuals infected were children. The origin of the outbreak was suspected to be the unvaccinated status of all the children.

According to the source, 17 children have been taken to Santa Marta, Magdalena for medical treatment. Five of the children have been admitted into an ICU and 12 of them have been identified as malnourished. They have all been provided antibiotics and are displaying steady recovery.

There are other regions throughout that have seen respiratory illness similar to this from as far back as last year. Various hospitalizations and cases of deaths have been reported. There is a public health push to ensure children, especially under the age of five years, receive vaccination against the virus responsible for Whooping cough.

Photo: Bordetella pertussis micrograph

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis or the 100-day cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease.

Initial symptoms are usually similar to those of the common cold with a runny nose, fever, and mild cough, but these are followed by weeks of severe coughing fits. The coughing may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the phrase "100-day cough". A person may cough so hard that they vomit, break ribs, or become very tired from the effort. Children less than one year old may have little or no cough and instead have periods where they do not breathe.

A vaccine exists but the disease may occur in those who have been vaccinated. Typically symptoms will be milder.

Outbreaks of the disease were first described in the 16th century. The bacterium that causes the infection was discovered in 1906. The pertussis vaccine became available in the 1940s

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