Whooping Cough a concern for Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 April 2018 00:00

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has notified the Ministry of Health of a confirmed case of Pertussis from a US visitor who travelled to Belize during the third week of March 2018. Since that alert on April 13, the Ministry has activated an investigative team to inform and follow-up with as many persons the infected person may have interacted with.

Based on information received from the CDC, the visitor was considered infectious during his travel to Belize. Public authorities are concerned since that visitor was all over Belize and is likely to have come in contact with many Belizeans. According to Dr. Ethan Gough, Ministry of Health Epidemiologist, “They were very mobile, so they were in several parts of the country and potentially came into contact with potential large number of people. So far what we’ve been able to find out is that they spent some time in San Pedro, San Ignacio and Placencia.” Fortunately, the Ministry has no confirmed case yet detected in Belize; however, the Ministry continues to monitor the situation.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough or 100-day cough, is a bacterial infection where an individual coughs very violently and uncontrollably. Along with those episodes of coughing, persons may also have difficulty breathing with a ‘whooping’ noise at the end of the cough episode. Vomiting may occur during or after coughing and exhaustion after the cough episode is not abnormal.

Persons are encouraged to visit or report to their nearest health center if they or anyone around them present these symptoms. After exposure, the infection can be transmitted during the first two weeks and the infection can last for up to six/ten weeks.

The Ministry reminds the public that health clinics have a whooping cough-containing vaccine, free of cost for children under age five, who are considered most at risk.