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HomeTopicsHealthCosta Rica Investigates Possible Whooping Cough Outbreak, Urge Vaccination

Costa Rica Investigates Possible Whooping Cough Outbreak, Urge Vaccination

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica issued an alert due to the potential outbreak of Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) in the district of Tibas, following a confirmed case in a 16-year-old. The Costa Rican Ministry of Health and Social Security Fund is closely investigating and monitoring the situation.

“Given the contagious nature of whooping cough and its severity in children and unvaccinated populations, the U.S. Embassy urges heightened awareness and vaccination verification for U.S. citizens in Costa Rica,” the Embassy said through a press release.

According to health authorities, this disease, caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, is highly contagious and is characterized by affecting the respiratory tract and causing attacks of severe coughing, fever, and nasal congestion.

It is usually transmitted by secretions from the sick person when coughing or sneezing and, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if not treated promptly, whooping cough can cause serious complications that could be fatal for infants and young children.

The disease is particularly dangerous for young children and those who haven’t received the vaccine. “’We must get used to living with this bacterium and keep it at bay by reinforcing vaccination systems because this is a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Norman Rojas Campos, a microbiologist at the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

The last time the country spoke vehemently about the disease was in 2019 when the National Reference Center for Bacteriology (CNRB) of the Costa Rican Institute of Nutrition and Health Research and Education (INCIENSA) conducted active surveillance of pertussis in children under 5.

Experts urge the population to ensure vaccination schedules are up to date, seek professional medical guidance on an appropriate vaccination program, adhere to cough and sneeze etiquette, practice frequent hand washing with soap and water, avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces, and seek medical advice if symptoms related to whooping cough are experienced.

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