Parents warned to look out for whooping cough

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Parents in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro have been warned to be on the lookout for whooping cough symptoms and immediately take children to the nearest clinic, should the latter present.

This follows an outbreak of Bordetella Pertussis in Nelson Mandela Bay, which has led to one fatality.

Eastern Cape Department of Health spokesperson, Lwandile Sicwetsha, said 26 cases of whooping cough have been reported by the departmental outbreak response team in the district since the beginning of this year up to 15 October 2018. Only five cases were reported in the metro last year.

“Of these [26 cases], 13 were reported in the private health facilities and the other 13 were reported at public healthcare facilities. This infectious disease poses a threat to communities,” Sicwetsha said.

Sicwetsha said the department is also sending outreach teams to check ‘Road to Health’ cards and immunization for children.

Symptoms of whooping cough 

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold. These include a runny nose, sneezing, mild cough and low-grade fever.

After about one to two weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into coughing spells. During a coughing spell, which can last for more than a minute, a child may turn red or purple. At the end of a spell, the child may make the characteristic whooping sound when breathing in or may vomit.

Between spells, the child usually feels well.


The disease is curable if it is detected during the early stages. Parents are encouraged to follow the immunization schedule to reduce chances of contracting the disease.

Those in close contact with patients diagnosed with whooping cough are given prophylaxis to prevent the development of the disease.

Parents are advised to immediately take children to the nearest clinic if they present with flu-like symptoms, including cough of more than two weeks and difficulty in breathing. –