This dangerous infectious disease is attacking again, spreading panic just beyond the Polish border. There are fatal cases

This dangerous infectious disease is attacking again, spreading panic just beyond the Polish border.  There are fatal cases

A dangerous infectious disease returns. An avalanche increase in infections was recorded, among others, in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, but also in other countries. Specialists warn that Poland should also be prepared for a wave of diseases.

The number of cases of whooping cough, which is a “treacherous” infectious disease, is increasing. In the initial phase, it may resemble a common cold. More and more cases of this disease are reported, among others, in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, but also in Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Great Britain and Croatia. More cases are also observed in Poland than in previous years. Experts warn that a wave of this serious infectious disease may occur in our country in just a few months, when autumn begins.

Increase in whooping cough cases in the Czech Republic

Whooping cough is an infectious disease that is spreading rapidly among our neighbors. It's about the increase in infections in the Czech Republic – since the beginning of 2024, 7,888 cases have been detected there. Recent weeks have also seen a record increase in infections. What's more, these numbers are higher than epidemiologists predicted earlier this year. It was estimated that there would be about 4,000 cases, so the increase is almost twice as high. The State Institute of Health (SZU) in the Czech Republic also reported deaths – three people with pertussis who also had other ailments died. One of the victims was a several-month-old baby who also suffered from pneumonia.

This disease is also causing panic in Bulgaria – over 250 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the last week, two infants have died, and state authorities are warning about the epidemic.

Whooping cough also attacks in Poland

In 2023, more infectious disease behaviors were recorded in our country compared to previous years. The incidence of whooping cough is also increasing in Poland. Data presented by the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene show that in 2023 alone, 927 people contracted whooping cough in Poland – this is almost three times more than in the previous year. Only in January and February, 326 cases were confirmed, and at the same time a year ago there were only 156 cases (so a double increase can be observed).

Experts warn that there may also be an avalanche increase in cases in our country – a larger number than we can usually expect in the fall. Head of the pediatric infectious diseases clinic at the hospital. Biegański in Łódź prof. Ewa Majda-Stanisławska in an interview with PAP noted that infectious diseases always appear in waves, and we have not had a wave of whooping cough for a long time. “The most contagious are whooping cough and measles. In these cases, one patient will infect up to 12 to 17 or 18 susceptible people,” the expert explained.

What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

Whooping cough is an acute infectious disease that causes paroxysmal coughing. It is caused by the whooping cough bacillus Bordetella pertussis. In the first phase of the disease, cough, runny nose, low-grade fever and pharyngitis appear (i.e. symptoms characteristic of other respiratory infections). These symptoms may initially resemble a cold or flu. Later, the most characteristic symptom of this disease appears, i.e. a very strong, paroxysmal and chronic cough. It is often accompanied by shortness of breath, as well as inspiratory wheezing, which is described as “crowing.” Coughing may also result in vomiting and apnea.

Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for children, especially those who have additional medical conditions. Whooping cough can be prevented primarily through vaccination. Experts emphasize that population immunity is very important.

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