Pertussis Outbreak in Israel: What You Need to Know


Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. It can cause severe coughing fits that make it hard to breathe, and can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, seizures, and brain damage.

Pertussis is especially dangerous for infants and young children, who are more likely to develop life-threatening complications and die from the disease.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, there has been an increase in pertussis cases in Israel since the beginning of 2023, with more than 210 cases reported from January 1 to June 1. This is a significant rise compared to the same period in 2022, when only 17 cases were reported. The majority of the cases are occurring in Jerusalem, which has the highest disease activity, followed by Tel Aviv.

Most of the cases are among unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated children, especially those belonging to communities with low vaccination rates.

The Ministry of Health has taken several measures to control the outbreak and prevent further spread of the disease. These include:

  • Improving vaccination coverage among unvaccinated children by offering free vaccines at health clinics and schools.
  • Educating parents and caregivers about the importance of vaccinating their children against pertussis and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against pertussis during their third trimester of pregnancy, to protect themselves and their newborns from the disease.
  • Advising health care workers and people who have close contact with infants and young children to get vaccinated or revaccinated against pertussis, if they have not done so in the past 10 years.
  • Enhancing surveillance and reporting of pertussis cases and contacts, and providing appropriate treatment and prophylaxis.

Pertussis is a preventable disease that can be effectively controlled by vaccination. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all children receive five doses of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine at 2, 4, 6, and 18 months of age, and at 6 years of age. The vaccine is safe and effective, and provides protection against three serious diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.

In Israel, the DTP vaccine coverage is estimated at 98%, which is above the threshold required to prevent widespread transmission of pertussis. However, some pockets of low vaccination coverage remain, which pose a risk for outbreaks.

If you are traveling to Israel or live in Israel, you should make sure that you and your family are up to date with your pertussis vaccinations. If you have symptoms of pertussis, such as a persistent cough that lasts more than two weeks, or a cough that is accompanied by vomiting or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics, which can reduce the severity and duration of symptoms and prevent transmission to others. However, antibiotics are most effective if started early in the course of the disease.

Pertussis is a serious public health threat that can be prevented by vaccination. By following the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and the WHO, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from this potentially fatal disease.

in deep…..

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. It affects people of all ages, but can be especially serious for infants and young children. Pertussis can cause severe coughing spells that make it hard to breathe, eat, or sleep.

Sometimes, the coughing can be so intense that it leads to vomiting, rib fractures, or even brain damage. Pertussis can also cause complications such as pneumonia, seizures, and death.

Pertussis is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing. It can easily spread among people who are in close contact with each other, such as in households, schools, or daycare centers. The incubation period of pertussis is usually 7 to 10 days, but can range from 4 to 21 days.

The symptoms of pertussis typically start with a runny nose, low-grade fever, and mild cough. After 1 to 2 weeks, the cough becomes more severe and characteristic of pertussis: it occurs in sudden bursts followed by a high-pitched whoop sound or gasping for air. The coughing episodes can last for several weeks or months.

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. There are two types of vaccines available: DTaP for children younger than 7 years old, and Tdap for older children and adults. DTaP is given as a series of five shots at 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months of age, and at 4 to 6 years of age.

Tdap is given as a single shot at 11 to 12 years of age, and as a booster every 10 years thereafter. Pregnant women should also get a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation, to protect themselves and their newborns from pertussis.

If you think you or your child has pertussis, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Pertussis can be diagnosed by a nasal swab test or a blood test. Antibiotics can help treat pertussis if started early in the course of the illness.

They can also help prevent the spread of the infection to others. However, antibiotics may not reduce the severity or duration of the coughing spells once they have started. Therefore, it is important to get vaccinated before exposure to pertussis.

Pertussis is a serious disease that can have life-threatening consequences for some people, especially infants and young children. By getting vaccinated and seeking medical attention if you suspect pertussis, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from this dangerous infection.

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