A pertussis, or whooping cough outbreak in the Frontino municipality of Colombia , located in the subregion West of the department of Antioquia, has sickened at least five and killed one newborn, according to a Noticias Caracol report (computer translated).


Health officials have issued an alert for the village of Murri, in Frontino where an infant less than 2 months of age died from the bacterial infection.

According Zulma del Campo Tabares Morales, manager of Public Health Branch Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Antioquia (SSSA), an outbreak of the disease was discovered in different indigenous settlements in the municipality.

The outbreak is in the communities of Antadocito, Llano, Chontaduro Low and High, San Mateo, Aguas Claras and Amparradó, where the population is mostly indigenous, nomadic, so health officials are trying to establish control measures to prevent the spread of disease .

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

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