The National Institute of Health (NIH) has warned health departments across the country regarding the increasing threat of whooping cough, commonly known as Kali Khansi.
NIH has directed provincial and federal health departments, along with other relevant officials, to take immediate measures to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.
In a letter sent to the concerned officials across the country, the institute has outlined all the precautionary measures to control the expected increase in whooping cough cases in the coming months. Furthermore, the letter has also mentioned the potential burden on health facilities due to increasing cases.
The letter has underscored the importance of timely vaccination to alleviate this burden and prevent complications from the contagious disease.
Following are some of the key points from NIH’s advisory:
- Whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection, can be transmitted through coughing and sneezing.
- The incubation period (the time between infection and the start of symptoms) for whooping cough is usually 7 to 10 days but can be as long as 21 days. Infected people are most contagious in the earliest stages of the illness for up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Therefore, the isolation period for whooping cough is 4 to 21 days.
- Early symptoms include a slight cough, mild fever, runny nose, and a gradual increase in cough intensity.
- Newborns and children are particularly susceptible to severe complications, including fever.
- The whooping cough vaccine is mandatory for high-risk individuals and is part of the national immunization program.
Moreover, citizens have been advised to practice social distancing and proper hygiene and cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing. The National Institute of Health has stressed the importance of early diagnosis using PCR tests and the crucial role of antibiotics in reducing the severity of whooping cough.
Timely vaccination can be greatly helpful in preventing other health complications, including pneumonia, ear infections, and psychological problems.