Whooping cough is on the rise in Sant Cugat

Whooping cough is on the rise in Sant Cugat


The vast majority of cases of whooping cough are mild due to vaccination, but for unvaccinated children younger than 1 year it can be more serious.

Bernard Bella
03/21/2024 04.30 h.

cases Whooping cough It has multiplied throughout the country and also in Sant Cugat. Infection rates have risen dramatically, especially in schools, because it is highly contagious and affects children and adolescents disproportionately. In 2024, the Epidemiological Surveillance Department monitored 259 cases of this Respiratory diseases in Sant Cugat, while there were 43 cases in the whole of 2023. In other words, in just over two months, six times more cases of whooping cough have been recorded than in all of last year. A record number with no clear explanation, but it occurs in different countries.

The majority of those infected are between 10 and 14 years old from Sant Cugat, and the vast majority of cases are mild. Those most at risk are unvaccinated children under one year old, who in some cases may end up in hospital. Therefore, the vaccine makes it possible to reduce the severity of the disease, he said Maria Rosa Sala, Head of the Epidemiological Surveillance Service of Valles: “The vaccine is going very well because it reduces serious cases. Vaccinating pregnant women and children under one year of age is essential.”

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough is one Infectious diseases Which affects the respiratory system and is particularly characterized by causing severe coughing attacks that can be repeated for weeks. Although the disease was serious a century ago, vaccination and treatment have made most cases mild. “It starts as a cold, and little by little, the coughing increases,” explains Sala. “And until you end up having real coughing attacks, it can last for weeks.” Attacks are more common at night.

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Everything you need to know about whooping cough.

The person responsible for Epidemiological surveillance service in Valles He explains that the most important thing is diagnosis and treatment, which is done with antibiotics. For this reason, it is important for citizens to know the symptoms, as they can be confused with influenza or other respiratory illnesses. Whooping cough usually goes through three stages:

  • the Catarrhal stage It is similar to a common cold, with little or no fever (usually less than 38°C) and an occasional, non-productive cough. It usually lasts one to two weeks and is highly contagious.
  • the Paroxysmal phase It is the most severe, with a cough that increases in frequency and intensity, in the form ofVery strong coughing spells. After these attacks, a characteristic high-pitched sound is produced when inhaling. Sufferers may be fine between attacks, which are worse at night. Vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, or profuse sweating may occur after coughing. Little or no fever. Infants, especially those younger than six months, may experience apnea rather than stridor. This stage lasts between three and six weeks.
  • the Quick recovery It lasts from one to twelve weeks and the coughing attacks gradually disappear.

Sala: “It is a disease that has treatment with antibiotics, and the sooner you give them, the shorter the duration of the cough.”

“It's a disease that has treatment with antibiotics, and the quicker it's given, the longer the cough lasts and prevents you from spreading it to other people,” he explains. Maria Rosa Sala. Therefore, if a person thinks they may have whooping cough or develops compatible symptoms after coming into contact with someone who has been diagnosed, it is recommended to see a doctor. It is diagnosed using PCR.

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What do we do if we are positive?

Aside from following the treatment prescribed by the doctor, the Epidemiological Surveillance Department recommends staying at home for five days to avoid the spread of the disease, which are the most dangerous days for the spread of infection. In fact, when a case is detected, for example in a school, the center and other families are notified. 'Whooping cough is very contagious'Sala confirms.

In this sense, it explains that at night more nocturnal attacks occur, but it is possible to be fine during the day. “Since he is healthy and does not have a fever, it is easy for the child to go to school and that is why there are more cases. Now especially in .Highschool“, Add.

The importance of the vaccine

The most serious complications of whooping cough that occur in children, especially in unvaccinated children under six months of age, are: pneumonia, convulsions, encephalopathy, and encephalitis. consequences and even death (1% in children less than two months). But everything has improved significantly since 2014, when vaccination of pregnant women began: since then, these complications have practically disappeared.

Other complications that can also occur in adults are: Insomnia, urinary incontinence, rib fractures, Weight loss and pneumonia. If an unvaccinated child develops a severe case, he or she may develop apnea or neurological complications.

Why does whooping cough increase?

Maria Rosa Sala He explains that whooping cough has a cyclical behavior and every few years there is an increase in cases. But this year all numbers have been exceeded. “In Sant Cugat, the increase started at the end of last year,” he explains. However, the cause is not well known.

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As the head of the service explained, this could be an effect resulting from the epidemic and the use of masks for a long time, which kept respiratory diseases to a minimum, which are now reappearing with great force. In fact, something similar happened with influenza at Christmas.

More information: Alert for influenza cases among residents of Sant Cugat

On the other hand, Maria Rosa Sala explains that vaccination coverage has not decreased. In other words, the increase did not occur because of a decrease in the number of people getting vaccinated. The truth is that the vaccine is what allows this increase in cases to not lead to serious cases. “the Vaccination with pregnant women “And less than one year is essential,” he concludes.

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