Czech Republic sees steep rise in whooping cough cases
The Czech Republic is seeing a steep rise in cases of whooping cough. This year, doctors have registered 880 cases of the highly contagious disease, and expect that by the end of the year, the number could exceed one thousand. Such a high incidence of whooping cough was last registered in the 1960s.
“The number of cases of whooping cough has been rising over the past several years so we decided to start vaccinating children at the age of 11. We have also registered several deaths among newborns and babies who had not yet been vaccinated. That’s rather alarming. But even healthy adults who contract the disease can take several weeks to recover, and the symptoms are quite unpleasant.”
Mandatory vaccination against pertussis was introduced in then Czechoslovakia in 1958 and with time, the disease was practically eradicated in the country, with five cases recorded in 1989.
“Vaccination does not protect people for the rest of their lives. As soon as the disease breaks through this barrier, new cases begin to appear. And every new case further increases the risk for people who were vaccinated a long time ago or not at all. This means that even adults and elderly people can contract the disease.”
Doctors say the most effective method of curbing the occurrence of whooping cough is vaccination of adults, as well as what they call the cocoon strategy. Doctor Roháčová again.
The authorities are now considering plans to provide free immunization against whooping cough for people around the age of 25. A proposal to get the vaccine covered by health insurance should reach the Czech Health Ministry in the coming months.