Israel notes significant rise in whooping cough cases

The Israeli Ministry of Health reported on Monday a significant rise in cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in recent months.

In April, there were 94 new pertussis cases in Israel, including a 10-week-old baby who died of the disease. There were 99 new cases in May, 122 in June, 190 in July, and 166 new cases in August, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

These figures show a sharp increase compared to a total of 22 new cases registered in January-March, and 17 cases in all of 2022, according to ministry data.

The ministry noted that most of the cases were in the Jerusalem area, but many other cases were detected all over Israel. It added that the infection is particularly high in densely populated areas with low vaccination rates.

Most significant morbidity and hospitalizations were among unvaccinated babies less than six months old, according to the statement.

Pertussis is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, which multiplies in the respiratory tract. The disease can cause complications and even threaten lives, especially for babies.

The ministry recommended vaccinating women in the third trimester of pregnancy, allowing the mother to develop antibodies and pass them through the placenta to the fetus in the womb. This way, the newborn baby is protected until the first vaccine, administered at the age of six weeks.

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