Vilingili confirms three cases of pertussis among children

Children fly kites in the Usfasgandu area of Male' City on April 23, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives has confirmed three cases of pertussis (whooping cough) - a disease which was controlled in the country through vaccination.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said in a statement on Tuesday that three children in GA. Vilingili have tested positive for the disease.

Following the confirmation of the cases, the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) and the GA. Atoll Hospital conducted contact tracing.

According to HPA, the children under the age of one year and expectant mothers who are more than six months pregnant identified as contacts have been put on antibiotic prophylaxis.

Meanwhile, symptomatic contacts have been put on medication.

The national health agency said that the GA. Atoll Hospital has set up a special taskforce, which is working with other relevant institutions in Vilingili to control the spread of the disease.

HPA warned that while pertussis can cause serious illness in people of all ages, it is most dangerous for babies.

The agency urged that children under the age of seven years who have not received all doses of vaccines must complete their vaccination as soon as possible.

The agency also urged people with a cough who are suffering from a persistent cough, facing difficulties due to cough, suffering from a chronic illness, or are young children and pregnant women to seek medical attentions as soon as possible.

Pertussis is a very contagious respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. The initial symptoms are consistent those of the common cold with a runny nose, fever, and mild cough, but these are followed by months of severe coughing fits.

A vaccinated child or adult have mild symptoms, but can still spread the bacteria to others.