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Whooping Cough: The Surge in Cases in France Revives Attention on Health Measures

Uncategorized

19 June 2024

Whooping cough, also known as "the 100-day cough," is an extremely contagious bacterial respiratory disease caused by Bordetella pertussis. This infection is ten times more contagious than the Covid-19 virus and can last several weeks or even months.

Recent data from the Pasteur Institute highlights a concerning increase in whooping cough cases in France, with nearly 6,000 positive cases recorded between January and May 2024, which is eleven times more than in 2023.

The incidence of whooping cough had decreased during the Covid-19 pandemic due to social distancing measures and mask-wearing. However, according to Sylvain Brisse, head of the National Reference Center for Whooping Cough and Other Bordetella at the Pasteur Institute, it is possible that these restrictions have led to a decrease in immunity.

Public Health France reports that globally, whooping cough causes around 40 million cases and 300,000 deaths annually, particularly affecting infants and the elderly. In June 2024, two infants under three months old died from this disease.

Transmission of Whooping Cough: How Does It Spread and What Are the Risks?

Whooping cough spreads through airborne droplets expelled during coughing fits. During the first week of symptoms, an infected person can, on average, infect up to 15 other individuals. In France, where child vaccination is widely practiced, transmission primarily occurs from adults or adolescents to infants, who are particularly vulnerable to this disease.

Reducing these airborne transmissions requires the rigorous adoption of appropriate barrier gestures and the use of devices capable of purifying the air of pathogens. Installing professionally verified air purifiers in environments frequented by high-risk populations is essential to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of contamination.

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Among high-risk environments, it is particularly important to mention places frequented by infants and young children, such as maternity wards, neonatal units, and pediatric hospitals.

Understanding the Symptoms and Progression of the Disease

Whooping cough progresses in three distinct phases:

  • Incubation Phase: Initially asymptomatic, followed by rhinorrhea (nasal discharge) for about two weeks.
  • Paroxysmal Phase: Persistent cough lasting more than seven days, usually without fever, accompanied by fits and breathing difficulties. In infants, this phase can lead to apnea, bradycardia, or even cyanosis.
  • Convalescent Phase: Can last several weeks, with potential complications such as pneumonia or neurological conditions in young children.

It is crucial to remember that whooping cough can be fatal in infants due to their still-developing respiratory systems, which do not have the same defenses as those of adults.

What Are the Treatments to Combat This Respiratory Disease?

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Consultation of a Baby with a Pediatrician

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The treatment for whooping cough primarily involves the administration of antibiotics, usually macrolides, which reduce the presence of the bacteria in secretions and thereby reduce the risk of transmission.

It is essential that close contacts of the patient, even if they do not show symptoms, also undergo treatment if they have not received a booster vaccination in the past five years.

For infants aged 0 to 3 months, hospitalization is highly recommended.

It is important to note that neither infection nor vaccination confers lifelong immunity, meaning it is possible to contract the disease multiple times. Isolation is crucial to protect particularly the elderly, children, and newborns.

Vaccination and Hygiene: Keys to Preventing Whooping Cough

To effectively combat whooping cough, vaccination remains the main preventive measure. Since 2022, it is recommended to vaccinate pregnant women to protect the newborn before their own vaccination.

In infants, vaccination begins at 2 months of age, followed by doses at 4 months and 11 months, with boosters at 6 years, between 11 and 13 years, and at 25 years for adults. In the absence of vaccination, a cocooning strategy, involving vaccinating the close contacts of the infant, is advised.

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Whooping cough, a respiratory disease transmitted through the air similar to Covid-19, requires the strict application of recommended barrier gestures:

  • Wearing a mask, especially around vulnerable people.
  • Maintaining regular hand hygiene with soap or an alcohol-based solution.
  • Avoiding close contact with individuals who are sick or suspected of being sick.

To reduce the risks of transmission of whooping cough and other respiratory diseases, it is essential to maintain optimal indoor air quality.

NatéoSanté's medical-grade air purifiers play a crucial role in effectively eliminating bacteria and suspended particles. The bacteria responsible for whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, measures about 0.5 to 1.0 µm, while our certified HEPA H13 filter captures 99.96% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

Using a high-performance filtration system creates a safer environment, particularly beneficial in shared spaces and healthcare settings. Our purifiers stand out for their medical-grade quality, ultra-efficient filtration technology with a certified HEPA H13 filter, and proven effectiveness through numerous performance tests, including tests on viruses and bacteria.

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