NIH issues advisory to combat rising cases of Whooping Cough
ISLAMABAD: In response to a growing threat of whooping cough, colloquially known as kali khansi, the National Institute of Health (NIH) has issued a warning to federal and provincial health departments, along with stakeholders, urging immediate action to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.
The NIH has dispatched an alert letter outlining precautionary measures to be taken across the country to curb the anticipated surge in whooping cough cases in the coming months. The advisory highlights the potential strain on hospitals due to the increased caseload and stresses the importance of timely vaccination as a means to avoid complications associated with whooping cough.
The key points from the advisory include:
- Whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection, can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing.
- The incubation period (the time between infection and the start of symptoms) for whooping cough is usually 7 to 10 days, but can be as long as 21 days. Infected people are most contagious in the earliest stages of the illness for up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Therefore, the isolation period for whooping cough is 4 to 21 days.
- Early symptoms include a slight cough, mild fever, runny nose, and a gradual increase in cough intensity.
- Newborns and children are particularly susceptible to severe complications, including fever.
- The whooping cough vaccine is mandatory for high-risk individuals and is part of the national immunisation program.
Citizens are advised to maintain distance from suspected and confirmed cases, practice proper hygiene, and cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
The NIH emphasises the significance of early diagnosis through PCR tests and underscores the crucial role of antibiotics in reducing the severity of whooping cough. Additionally, complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, and psychological problems can be prevented through timely vaccination.
As the nation braces for a potential surge in whooping cough cases, the NIH urges citizens to remain vigilant, follow preventive measures, and contribute to curbing the spread of this infectious disease.