The outbreak is with children younger than five, especially little ones.
The Mpumalanga health department says they have observed an increase in children with Pertussis.
Initially, symptoms of Pertussis are usually similar to those of a common cold – characterised by a runny nose, fever and mild cough.
But after days a fit of coughing follows, a high-pitched whoop sound or gasp may occur as the child breathes in.
The illness is known as ‘whooping cough’, among children younger than five years, particularly those younger than a year old.
13 cases have been reported across Mpumalanga and the public is advised to be on high alert when anyone or a child is experiencing or developing cold-like symptoms, including coughing and a runny nose.
They should immediately consult the nearest health facility to get medical help.
Caused by a germ known as ‘Bordella Pertussis’, the illness can spread from one child to another and is vaccine-preventable.
The Centre for Communicable Diseases said it will be spread when a person with it sneezes, coughs or breathes because the germs live in the nose, mouth and throat of the infected person, making it easy for them to spread to others.
“A person can get Pertussis when droplets of mucous or saliva from the sick person get into the mouth, nose or eyes,” the centre’s Mandla Zwane said.
He added that adolescents and adults who have been vaccinated previously may also get it but with minimal symptoms – like a sore throat or a persistent cough.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with Pertussis by a doctor or health care facility should avoid mixing with other people, especially infants and pregnant women, to prevent the further spread of the disease, Zwane said.
(edited by ZK)
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