K. Male'
01 Feb 2024 | Thu 13:38
Ga. Villingili
Ga. Villingili
Whooping cough cases
One more case of whooping cough detected in GA. Villingili
177 contacts have been identified so far
Ministry of Health and HPA had collaboratively sent a team to be active on the island
Pertussis has been largely controlled in the archipelago nation, with regular vaccination

Another case of whooping cough has been discovered in Villingili island of Gaaf Alif atoll.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that the new case was discovered on January 31.

This has pushed the total number of pertussis cases detected from the island to five.

An outbreak of whooping cough or the “100 days” cough surfaced on the island on January 23. Three children from the island tested positive for the highly contagious respiratory virus earlier. Since then, another child is to have tested positive, on January 27. HPA revealed that one of the infected children was in critical condition and that the child had other health issues as well.

177 contacts of these cases have been identified, out of which 25 are exhibiting symptoms and two are at high risk of complications.

Efforts by the public health authority in connection with the discovery of positive cases include contact tracing efforts in collaboration with Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and Gaaf Alif Atoll Hospital, testing contacts who have exhibited symptoms of the virus and providing antibiotic profiles to contacts of infected persons, children below one year of age and women who are six months pregnant.

In addition to this, Gaaf Alif Atoll Hospital has established a special task force in connection with the outbreak and collaborating with the institutions on the island to control the spread of the virus.

As part of efforts to strengthen the task force’s services, the Ministry of Health and HPA had collaboratively sent a team to be active on the island.

The team has met the task force to discuss the measures to control the illness, identify the difficulties and challenges faced and suggested ways to tackle them.

Further, a clinical management session was conducted for the doctors and nurses of the hospital, and they have been thoroughly informed and advised about contact tracing and case investigation.

The public health authority has also held a session to educate parents and the general public, as well as parents of school students to spread awareness about prevention of whooping cough as well as other respiratory viruses.

HPA has also provided medication for contacts who have exhibited symptoms of the virus.

The disease was eradicated in the Maldives since regular vaccination was rolled out. However, some rare cases have been surfacing.

The infectious disease is transmitted through the respiratory tract and the very first symptoms are similar to those seen in common colds. Patients will observe intense and chronic coughing after a week, that prolongs for a long period of time, which is why it is referred to as the “100-day cough”. Lasting for two months or more, the infection progresses through several stages.

Some other symptoms may be observed in young children. However, if a fully vaccinated child or adult is infected, there may not be any severe symptoms.

Studies have found that young children are at higher risk from complications from the virus, with babies under three months found to be at the highest risk of complications, hospitalization and even death.

The public health authority has urged parents who have not given vaccine doses to children under seven years of age, to complete their vaccination at the earliest. Vaccination has been made available at health care centers across all islands.

HPA has also urged patients with fever, cough or additional difficulties or have other long-term conditions, babies or pregnant women to seek medical attention without delay if they experience prolonged coughing.

Pertussis has been largely controlled in the archipelago nation, with regular vaccination.

Some of the symptoms of the virus include stuffy nose, runny nose, fever and mild coughing in the first stage. Within two weeks of contracting the virus, patients may notice increased severity of these symptoms and more symptoms like vomiting and a “whoop” like sound.

HPA revealed that very young children may even stop breathing for a short period, instead of coughing.

Prolonged coughing is the most common symptom among vaccinated people and the infection is usually treated with prescribed antibiotics.

The most common complication observed in the illness is pneumonia or lung infection. However, complications may be avoided by vaccinating.

Vaccination can reduce the chance of getting infected and getting sick.

The Pentavalent Vaccine, which is given to prevent the disease, can be administered to babies at two months, four months and six months of age. In addition to this, DPT boosters are administered at the age of four. It is of utmost importance to complete these doses at the appropriate times.

Last updated at: 3 months ago
Reviewed by: Maryam Dhaanish Nasheed