Whooping cough on the rise in Andalusia, nurse recommends more vaccinations

Whooping cough worsens. It occurs mainly in Andalusia, which registers 26% of the cases reported nationwide in Spain. To combat the epidemic, the Andalusian Association of Home and Community Care (Asanec) warns, as a general recommendation, that additional doses of vaccination against pertussis, a respiratory infection that affects all groups, are needed. , although it occurs more severely in young children.

Adolescents and adults are the main sources of transmission of the disease, and the scientific community recommends the use of new doses because immunity wanes over time.

The latest report from the National Epidemiological Center of the Carlos III Institute shows that there are 482 cases of whooping cough in Spain, including 128 in Andalusia. Reports published last week, referring to cases reported in the first week of February, showed a clear rebound in pertussis infections in Spain: the 38 cases registered in the country in 2023 have risen to 1,606 in Spain alone. 2024.

Among the notifiable diseases reported by the Carlos III Institute, after common influenza, whooping cough has the highest number of reported cases, followed by gonorrhea, chickenpox and syphilis.

Whooping cough, also known as whooping cough, is a respiratory infectious disease that appears periodically with epidemic outbreaks. It is highly contagious and spreads through close contact with infected people and through coughing or respiratory secretions. The use of masks reduces the likelihood of infection and is recommended for vulnerable groups.

“Infections are more frequent in winter and spring, occur during the catarrhal stage, and have an incubation period of seven to 20 days,” Asanec said in a report collected by EFE.

More serious in babies

Eva Almán, head of Asanec’s immunization unit, noted that whooping cough is a disease “particularly serious in the first months of life” and that “90% of hospitalizations occur in children under one year old. The proportion of admissions is even higher” in three months. Children who develop severe complications or even die. “

In Spain, the whooping cough epidemic has been ongoing since 2010, with an average of 4,000 cases reported annually since 2011, with a peak between 2014 and 2019, according to the Carlos III Institute. The Covid-19 pandemic, like most respiratory infections, has reduced infection rates to almost zero.

The National Epidemiology Center report analyzed a total of 43,534 pertussis cases between 2005 and 2020, including 10,281 hospitalizations (83% in people with less than three months to live).

In Europe, an analysis aimed at determining the burden of pertussis in adults over 50 years between 2010 and 2020 showed that the disease has similar trends to those in children aged 0 to 4 years: “It is growing.”

periodic bursts

Despite acceptable vaccine effectiveness and high vaccine coverage, epidemics continue to occur periodically in countries with higher human development indexes. The incidence of pertussis has increased worldwide over the past two decades and is one of the most prevalent vaccine-preventable diseases.

Asanec noted that this suggests that “current vaccination strategies are insufficient to reduce the burden of disease across all age groups.”

“It is important to realize that the actual incidence rate is higher because pertussis in adults is often undiagnosed due to lower clinical suspicion and the actual burden of the disease is greater,” Alman emphasized.

According to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), whooping cough symptoms usually appear 7 to 10 days after infection, but can occur up to 21 days later. Symptoms initially resemble those of a common cold, including sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever, and mild cough.

A cough followed by a slap

The cough changes two weeks after infection and is characterized by a sudden cough followed by a crackling or sharp slapping sound. These episodes usually end with the passing of thick, clear mucus, often followed by vomiting. They initially occur at night, then become more frequent during the day, and may recur for a month or two.

ECDC explains that antibiotic treatment is the first choice treatment for whooping cough. However, to be effective, treatment must be started early in the course of the disease, preferably within two weeks of onset. Antibiotic treatment can eradicate the bacteria in your nose and throat and limit the risk of spreading it to others.

Complications of whooping cough include pneumonia, middle ear infection, loss of appetite, dehydration, epilepsy, brain disease, hernia, rib fractures, rectal prolapse, and episodes of respiratory arrest. Severe cases can lead to death.

The most important way to prevent whooping cough is to be fully immunized. Pertussis vaccine is used in conjunction with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines and has been included in the vaccination program in Spain since 1965. A primary course of three doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine is given between 2 and 12 months of age. ECDC recommends a third or fourth dose for individuals 11 to 24 months of age, and another supplemental dose for individuals 3 to 6 years of age.

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