Pertussis: More and more whooping cough cases
Whooping cough (pertussis) occurs all year round, but the infections are generally somewhat more common in autumn and winter. Cases of the disease, which can be particularly dangerous for infants, are currently being reported from various regions in Germany. Health experts call for vaccination.
Several cases of illness in northern Germany
If you currently have a cough and runny nose and feel weak, think first of all that you may have contracted a cold or flu. But the complaints could also be the highly contagious whooping cough (pertussis). The childhood disease, which also occurs in adults, occurs all year round, but the infections are generally somewhat more common in the cold season. In some regions of the republic, cases of illness are increasing, such as in the district of Segeberg.
No reason to panic
As the district of Segeberg reports, the fourth whooping cough case was medically confirmed in the Bornhöved / Trappenkamp area. The four cases are said to relate to three community facilities in the region.
However, the district health office expressly points out that the disease has not yet broken out and that there is no reason for the citizens to panic.
"The special thing about the situation is that so far we have not been able to establish a direct connection between the four infections," explained Health Director Dr. Boris Friege. "So there is currently no comprehensible chain of infection."
The expert also pointed out that the situation was not underestimated.
Prolonged dry cough
The infectious disease is particularly dangerous for infants, sometimes even life-threatening.
The respiratory tract infection caused by bacteria initially leads to mild cold symptoms such as runny nose, cough and weakness in those affected.
A protracted, dry cough is typical later. According to health experts, there are spasmodic coughing pains, which often end with a wheezing of the air.
The numerous coughing fits occur mainly at night in many patients. An infection usually lasts about four to six weeks.
According to doctors, whooping cough can only be successfully combated with antibiotics at an early stage.
The risk of infection can last for several weeks
The highly contagious disease is transmitted "by droplet infection, which can occur through close contact with an infectious person, through large droplets within a distance of up to 1 meter through coughing, sneezing or speaking," explains the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on his website.
The incubation period is usually nine to ten days (range: six to 20 days).
“The risk of infecting others is greatest when the disease begins. After that, the risk of infection decreases, but it can last up to five weeks in total, ”wrote the district of Segeberg.
The Health Director Dr. Friege warns of excessive uncertainty: "Anyone who has signs of illness should see a doctor, as always. Without signs of illness, there is no reason to request a certain diagnosis from your doctor, such as a smear for whooping-nose diagnosis. "
Experts call for vaccination
Prevention is particularly important. The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends starting the basic immunization against whooping cough, consisting of four vaccine doses, from the age of two months and completing it by the 14th month of life at the latest.
The vaccination should be refreshed once at the age of five to six and from nine to 17 years.
"All adults should be vaccinated once against pertussis," said the RKI. Not only to protect yourself from illness, but also to protect other people from infection.
"This is particularly important for infants," the experts explain. Because: “Babies can only be vaccinated against pertussis from the second month of life and have no natural nest protection against the disease. They are therefore dependent on the passive protective effect of immunizing the people around them. ”(Ad)