Whooping cough vaccines urged, especially in South

Whooping cough vaccines urged, especially in South

Public health agencies are encouraging people, especially those in the deep South, to get vaccinated against pertussis, also known as whooping cough, after figures showed almost 100 Thais have been diagnosed with the disease this year.

The Disease Control Department reported yesterday that 93 people had tested positive for pertussis from Jan 1 to Nov 22 and one infant died in Pattani.

The 18 day-old infant picked up the infection from family members, said Dr Anurak Saraphab, Pattani Provincial Public Health Medical Doctor.

The report showed that 72 people in the province tested positive for pertussis, the highest in Thailand.

Dr Chaloemphol Osotpromma, director of the Office of Disease Control 12 in Songkhla, added that most of the patients live in the South. He said 81 of the 93 patients diagnosed with the disease were from the deep southern provinces including Pattani and Narathiwat.

Of those, 54.7% were younger than a year and 11.5% were 1-4 years old. All of those were non-vaccinated infants or those who had not received all the required doses, he said.

Pertussis is an infectious disease caused by the fungus Bordetella pertussis. The patient, often infants, usually contract the fungi from adults.

The fungi causes a paroxysmal cough, inspiratory whoop, and fainting or vomiting after coughing, which can be fatal in some cases. According to Dr Chaloemphol, the symptoms can be seen for at least 2–3 months.

The vaccine is included as an essential one for infants, alongside diphtheria and tetanus. Dr Chaloemphol said 90% of vaccination rates in each area are required to build community-level antibodies against those diseases. However, the rate of vaccination in a Pertussis cluster area in the deep South was just 62%. Children get their doses from two months upwards.

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