TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas has reported five suspected cases of pertussis, the regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Speaking through its information officer Jelyn Lopez-Malibago, the health office stated that these suspected cases are distributed across Eastern Samar, Southern Leyte, and Leyte provinces.

Both the provinces of Southern Leyte and Leyte have two each of suspected cases while one in Eastern Samar.

Samples from these cases will be sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for confirmatory testing.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough or the 100-day cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can be prevented through vaccination.

Initial symptoms resemble those of the common cold, including a runny nose, fever, and mild cough. However, these symptoms are followed by severe coughing fits lasting two to three months. During these fits, individuals may emit a high-pitched whooping sound or gasp as they struggle to breathe.

The coughing can be so intense that it leads to vomiting, rib fractures, and fatigue. Infants under one year old may not exhibit a typical cough but may experience periods of breathlessness.

The disease’s incubation period is typically seven to ten days, and although vaccination can reduce symptoms, cases can still occur, albeit with milder symptoms. (ROBERT DEJON)