Bacolod City

Bacolod officials raise alarm over pertussis threat

Erwin Delilan

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Bacolod officials raise alarm over pertussis threat

Following reports of high cases of Pertussis or whooping cough in Metro Manila, particularly in Quezon City, as a preventive measure, teachers at the Rafael Palma Elementary School in Manila distributed face masks to students during class, on March 22, 2024.


An infant suspected to be suffering from the respiratory ailment has raised concerns about the possible spread of pertussis in Bacolod and Negros Occidental

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Bacolod officials sounded alarm bells on Monday, April 1, about the possible spread of pertussis in the capital city of Negros Occidental, as they documented a case of an infant suspected to have been infected by the bacterium causing the highly contagious respiratory ailment.

Bacolod City, situated on Negros Island in Negros Occidental, is less than an hour away from Iloilo City, located on Panay Island in Iloilo province, by sea travel. The close distance between the two cities has left residents in Bacolod uneasy, especially since the Iloilo City government declared a state of calamity on March 26 in response to the pertussis outbreak.

Local health officials said a two-month-old infant from Negros Occidental was admitted to the Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital (CLMMRH) in Bacolod due to suspected pertussis or whooping cough.

Negros Occidental Provincial Health Officer Gerlie Pinongan said samples taken from the patient were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and local officials were waiting for the results.

Lawyer Caesar Distrito, the spokesman of Bacolod Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, said the City Health Office has been directed to issue a public alert so that unvaccinated children would not be allowed to loiter around, especially in crowded areas, by their parents or guardians to avoid infection.

Distrito assured the public that the local health office was prepared to prevent pertussis from spreading in Bacolod.

Pinongan, meanwhile, advised Negrenses to wear face masks in public places, always wash their hands, and maintain personal hygiene.

Pinongan also called on parents and guardians to complete their children’s primary vaccination to protect them against pertussis, and she encouraged Negrenses, regardless of age, to immediately consult physicians when experiencing symptoms.

According to the health department, pertussis or whooping cough is an extremely contagious respiratory illness caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, which spreads primarily through person-to-person respiratory droplets or contact with airborne droplets.

They said exposure to infected or contaminated items such as clothes, utensils, and furniture can also result in infection. Its symptoms include a persistent cough that may last two or more weeks, mild fever, and a runny nose.

In Iloilo, the city council approved a P16.9-million quick response fund to be used in cushioning the impact of the disease.

Iloilo City officials did not give exact figures about the number of pertussis patients in the city, but the Iloilo Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit showed that current cases have already reached the epidemic threshold.

Aside from Iloilo City, pertussis outbreaks have also been declared in Quezon and Pasig cities in Metro Manila. –

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