Suspected cases of Whooping Cough in Springfield Print E-mail
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Thursday, 27 September 2012 00:00

Whooping CoughThe Ministry of Health is awaiting the test results for six samples, which were sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Center (CAREC) in Trinidad and Tobago to test for whooping cough.

On Monday, September 3rd, the Ministry received reports of suspected cases of the disease in the Mennonite community of Springfield located on the Southern Highway. Since that time, multidisciplinary surveillance teams have been dispatched to identify the suspected cases, trace contacts, collect specimens and provide treatment and education on the disease.

As a result of the intervention six suspected cases were detected, five of those being children; one a six-month-old child and an adult were treated and are in good health. According to the Ministry of Health's Dr. Natalia Beer, the common factor with all the cases is that they are all persons, who have not been vaccinated. This, she says, poses a greater risk for contracting the disease. She added that with the community being Mennonite, the Ministry has problems with them accepting all the vaccines. As a result of the suspected cases, there is now an enhanced surveillance for vaccine preventable diseases.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough is highly contagious and is caused by a bacteria. It causes episodes of violent and uncontrollable coughing which makes it difficult to breath. There is a deep whooping sound often heard when the patient is breathing. The disease most commonly affects children and can be fatal especially in children less than 1 year old. The infection usually lasts 6 weeks. The Ministry of Health reports that it provides a vaccine for Pertussis  and is administered to children ages 2, 4 and 6 months and a later dose at age 4.
Anyone who exhibits signs of whooping cough is asked to visit the nearest health center for screening and treatment.