General — 21 April 2018 — by Courtney Menzies
Ministry of Health monitors possible presence of whooping cough in Belize

BELMOPAN, Wed. Apr. 18, 2018– The Ministry of Health (MOH) issued a press release yesterday informing Belizeans of a confirmed case of Pertussis (whooping cough). The Centers for Disease Control alerted the ministry that in the third week of March, a tourist with the disease had travelled to Belize.

The MOH had been notified of the case on April 13, and has since assembled a team to investigate further and get into contact with people with whom the infected person might have interacted. So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Belize, but the ministry is still monitoring the situation.

The press release also informed the public of the symptoms of whooping cough.

“Whooping cough is a bacterial infection where an individual [will experience] very violent and uncontrollable episodes of cough, difficulty breathing with a ‘whooping noise’ usually at the end of the cough episode, vomiting that occurs during or after coughing, and exhaustion after the cough episode,” the release stated.

According to MyBelize.Net, early symptoms can also present themselves as runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough, and low-grade fever. The infection can be transmitted during a period of two weeks after exposure, and it can last from six to ten weeks. The disease can be managed with antibiotic treatment, which is given to anyone who is showing symptoms of the illness or who directly interacted with an infected person, according to the press release.

If you have observed any symptoms in yourself or anyone else, you are advised to visit, or report to, the nearest health center.

The MOH also reminds the public that local clinics have a whooping cough-containing vaccine that is free of cost for children under five years of age, who are most at risk for catching the disease.

Prior to this case, in 2012, Amandala had reported on six cases of whooping cough that were reported in Springfield, Cayo. Five of these reported cases had been children – one as young as six months old.

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