The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has alerted parents and caregivers about increasing rates of whopping cough.
According to the NICD, the country recorded a decrease in cases of whopping cough- officially known as pertussis with a decline on the notifiable conditions surveillance system in 2020 and 2021.
“This is likely as a result of decreased transmission related to non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2,” the NICD explained on Wednesday.
This year for the first time since March 2020, South Africa dropped Covid-19 restrictions, including wearing masks.
In a statement, the NICD said cases were increasing this year following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
“From the beginning of 2022 to 15 September, 147 pertussis cases were notified, with a steady increase in the number of cases reported since May and a sharp increase from July (23 cases) through August (33 cases) and September (53 cases).”
Of the 147 cases, 77% of the cases were children younger than five years old, with 79% being under three months.
Meanwhile, the majority of cases were recorded in the Western Cape.
“In July and August 2022, the cases reported were evenly distributed across provinces and in keeping with numbers reported before Covid-19, while in September 2022, the majority of cases were reported from Western Cape and numbers higher than those reported from this province pre Covid-19.”
Of the cases reported in the Western Cape in September, 34 of the 38 cases were children younger than five.
“Of the 34 children less than five years of age, only 26 have vaccination status, of which 65% were up to date with their vaccinations.”
The disease can be cured and prevented through vaccination.
“Immunity following vaccination is thought to last for 5-6 years. Episodic increases in pertussis cases occur in vaccinated populations every 3-5 years,” the NICD said.
Symptoms of whopping cough are similar to your usual cold and mainly include nasal congestion, runny nose, mild sore throat, mild dry cough and minimal or no fever.
Source: News24, SA News, The South African, image from Twitter