NewsDesk @bactiman63

The South Africa National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported recently an increase in pertussis, or whooping cough in the first nine months of 2022.

South Africa/CIA

Very few pertussis cases were reported through the notifiable medical conditions (NMC) surveillance system in 2020 (n=169) and 2021 (n=27) in South Africa, likely as a result of decreased transmission related to non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

From the beginning of 2022 to 15 September, 147 pertussis cases were notified, with a steady increase in the number of cases reported since May and a sharp increase from July (n= 23 cases) through August (n = 33) and September (n = 53).

Of the 147 cases, 77% were children less than 5 years of age (113/147) of which 89 (79%) were children less than 3 months. The majority of cases 42%, (62/147) were from the Western Cape. In July and August 2022, the cases reported were evenly distributed across provinces and in keeping with numbers reported before COVID-19, while in September 2022, the majority of cases, 79% (38/48) were reported from Western Cape and numbers higher than those reported from this province pre-COVID-19.

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Of the 38 cases reported from the Western Cape in September, 89% (34/38) of cases were observed from children less than 5 years of which 74% (25/34) were children less than 3 months. Of the 34 children less than 5 years of age, only 26 have vaccination statuses, of which 65% (17/26) were up to date with their vaccinations.

Pertussis, commonly known as ‘whooping cough’ is a vaccine-preventable disease caused by Bordetella pertussis and is a notifiable medical condition according to the National Health Act, 2003 (ACT NO. 61 0F 2003). Immunity following vaccination is thought to last for 5-6 years. Episodic increases in pertussis cases occur in vaccinated populations every 3-5 years.