Central Luzon pertussis cases continue to rise

Rhodina Villanueva, Ric Sapnu - The Philippine Star
Central Luzon pertussis cases continue to rise
File photo of a woman coughing.

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — Eighty-six cases of pertussis or whooping cough have been recorded in Central Luzon as of April 13, according to the Department of Health (DOH) regional office.

The DOH said the number of cases translates to six cases per day or an increase of 8,600 percent compared to the same period last year.

Tarlac logged the highest number of cases at 32 followed by Pampanga with 18; Bataan, 14; Bulacan and Zambales, eight each; Nueva Ecija, four, and Angeles City, two.

Three deaths were reported in Pampanga and one each in Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac and Angeles City.

The DOH said no case was recorded in Aurora province and Olongapo City.

No pertussis-related death was reported in Central Luzon from April 7 to 13.

The DOH had earlier said it is monitoring Central Luzon and Central Visayas after posting the highest increase in cases last month.

The DOH said pertussis is a respiratory disease that can be transmitted through coughing or sneezing.

It advised the public to practice good respiratory hygiene, including frequent hand washing and wearing of face masks.

BARMM vax drive vs measles

Meanwhile, nearly one million children in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) are now protected from measles.

The DOH said the Measles Outbreak Response Immunization in BARMM, which started on April 1, has covered 981,805 children aged six months to 10 years old.

“We have achieved a vaccination coverage of 71.60 percent out of the target eligible population of 1,371,284,” the DOH said in a statement.

Maguindanao del Norte logged a vaccination rate of 91.2 percent; Sulu, 89.5 percent; Maguindanao del Sur, 81.8 percent; Tawi-Tawi, 70.5 percent, and Lanao del Sur, 44.5 percent.

Basilan achieved a 36.5 percent vaccine coverage.

The DOH said 389,479 children in BARMM remain unvaccinated.

“We urge parents, guardians and caregivers to protect their children from vaccine-preventable diseases like measles by ensuring that every child is vaccinated,” the DOH said.

Up to 1,627 cases of measles-rubella, including four deaths, have been recorded in the country since January.

Forty-eight percent or 787 of the cases were recorded in BARMM, prompting the declaration of a state of calamity.

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