Sabah records 986 per cent in whooping cough cases

28 Apr 2023 05:51pm
KOTA KINABALU - Sabah has recorded 76 cases of whooping cough or Pertussis from January until yesterday, an increase of 986 per cent from only seven cases during the same period last year, said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

She said Kota Kinabalu had the highest number of cases with 20, followed by Lahad Datu (16), Tawau (15), Putatan (eight) and four cases each in Semporna and Papar.

Kunak and Tambunan recorded three cases each, while Sandakan, Kinabatangan and Tuaran had one case each.

"One death was also recorded during the period. Of the total number of cases, 41 involved Malaysians, 27 Filipinos and eight Indonesians,” she told reporters after the town hall session on the Health White Paper here today.

Elaborating, Dr Zaliha said Pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease which is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person.

"The bacteria spreads through respiratory droplets produced during coughing and sneezing and can infect people of all ages. However, infants and children who are not fully protected by immunisations are the most at risk.

"Usually, those who are infected will experience a prolonged cough for one to two weeks and can last up to two months. This severe and prolonged cough causes the patient to turn blue (cyanosis) when they have trouble breathing, which can result in seizures,” she said.

In this regard, Dr Zaliha said the Health Ministry, through the Sabah Health Department, has increased monitoring and implemented serious efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

"Vaccination is an effective and safe way to prevent the disease. According to the National Immunisation Schedule, babies will be given four doses of the Pertussis vaccine. They will be given the jabs at the age of two months, three months and five months and a booster dose at 18 months,” she said.
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Dr Zaliha advised those with symptoms to cover their mouth when coughing and sneezing and immediately wash their hands afterwards.

"Those with symptoms are also advised against kissing infants as they are most likely to get infected with Pertussis,” she said. - BERNAMA