Philippines: Pertussis cases up 400%, one death reported in SOCCSKSARGEN


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The Philippines grapples with an increase in vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs) in the first months of 2023 – diphtheria cases rose 775 percent, measles rose 299 percent, and whooping cough cases increased 400 percent as of April 8 this year .

Pertussis/CDC graph

From January 1 to April 8, the Philippine Department of Health reported 25 cases of whooping cough, or whooping cough, up from five reported during the same period in 2022.

The Zamboanga Peninsula and the Parm – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao are the areas reporting the most cases so far with five cases each.

One death has been reported from District XII (SOCCSKSARGEN).

The Philippines’ coverage of VPD among children is less than 60 percent with the COVID-19 pandemic as the main culprit.

According to the Department of Pediatric Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Anna Ong Lim, to achieve herd immunity, the country’s goal is to vaccinate 90 percent of children against preventable childhood diseases such as whooping cough, diphtheria, measles and polio. and tetanus, among others.

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For diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus (DPT) vaccination specifically, the Philippines is also one of the countries where children are not completely vaccinated in 2020.

Ong Lim explained that the decline in immunization coverage is not limited to the Philippines as it has been observed worldwide due to the pandemic.

In addition to the Philippines, there are 17 million unprotected children against diphtheria and pertussis from Angola, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Global immunization coverage decreased from 86% in 2019 to 81% in 2021.

In the same year, the number of completely unvaccinated children increased by 5 million since 2019.

Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease that affects the lungs and respiratory tract and is especially dangerous for infants under one year of age.

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