Guam - For the past several months, the Department of Public Health has seen an increase of suspect pertussis cases, also known as whooping cough. The respiratory tract infection is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. A total of 118 suspect cases have been reported with 44 confirmed cases, most of which affected children less than 12 months of age.
Pertussis is vaccine preventable but can lead to serious complications, hospitalizations, and even death. Public Health's Immunization Program Supervisor Annette Aguon encourages parents to ensure their children are immunized on time. She said, "We want to promote that parents, grandparents, older children, health care providers also properly ensure that you're immunized. We could be the ones spreading the illness without realizing it because we think it's just a bad cough. It's not serious for us as adults because we have a better immune system but for younger children, especially the infants, they're not able to protect themselves. They're too young or their immune system is still developing so it's severe for them if they come down with pertussis."
For more information call Public Health at 735-7143 or your health care provider.