New cases of whooping cough surge in Dominican Republic

Hundreds of kids in New York and Florida got their shots at CVS. Meanwhile, the number of new cases of a strain of whooping cough in the Dominican Republic has surged. Health officials with…

New cases of whooping cough surge in Dominican Republic

Hundreds of kids in New York and Florida got their shots at CVS. Meanwhile, the number of new cases of a strain of whooping cough in the Dominican Republic has surged.

Health officials with the New York state health department, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Florida officials say case numbers in the U.S. — 34 so far in the state, 279 nationwide — are entirely normal, according to the health department.

But Dominicans’ numbers, which were previously believed to be on the decline, have risen to a shocking 275 cases as of September 1. As for Mexico, which in May had 500 cases, there are now just 15.

“The current rate of 81.3 reported cases per 100,000 individuals is below the rate of 81.9 cases per 100,000 individuals in 2015 and 2015 and similar to the number of cases in 2016,” the CDC reports.

Dominicans continue to be exposed to pertussis through annual visits to nonmedical institutions like school.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is an infection of the respiratory tract that causes intense coughing — especially if it is prolonged. It can result in an extremely high fever, fatigue, vomiting, dry cough, runny nose, and a distinctive “whooping” sound.

It can affect anyone of any age and is life-threatening in young children.

The health department in the Dominican Republic has received the same case number — 273 — and compares it to a total of 260 cases reported in the country in 2016. According to the WHO, the percentage of cases of pertussis in Mexico has dropped from 5 percent in 2014 to just 3 percent in 2016.

Pertussis is transmitted by coughing or sneezing and by close contact with infected people, like health care workers. Pertussis can be prevented with a tetanus booster, and also through the use of Tdap shots that are available at many pharmacies and general health clinics.

The illness can be treated with antibiotics, but children under age 2 and older adults should get vaccinated.

The Dominican Republic, ranked 20th in the world for measles cases last year, has tried to shore up its immunization efforts. The WHO gives both shots to all children on time and routinely vaccinates teachers and others with the pertussis booster.

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