IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


15th April, 2024 Health


Source: LiveMint

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  • The incidence of whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection, has been on the rise in various countries, including China, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.
  • Recent reports indicate a significant increase in cases, with China alone reporting 32,000 cases in the first two months of 2024, a twentyfold increase compared to the same period last year.


About Whooping Cough

  • Whooping cough, caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria, affects the respiratory tract and is characterized by severe coughing spells often accompanied by a distinctive "whooping" sound.
  • It poses a particular threat to infants and can lead to complications such as pneumonia and even death.


  • The bacteria spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and it attaches to the throat lining, damaging cilia, which are responsible for clearing debris and mucus.
  • This results in airway inflammation, severe coughing fits, and difficulty breathing.


  • Whooping cough typically begins with cold-like symptoms and a low-grade fever, progressing to coughing spells with a characteristic "whoop" sound.
  • Coughing fits may be accompanied by vomiting, and in infants and young children, sleep apnea may occur.
  • The symptoms of whooping cough typically progress through several stages:
    • Catarrhal stage: Resembling a common cold with symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, mild cough, and low-grade fever.
    • Paroxysmal stage: Characterized by intense coughing fits often followed by a high-pitched "whoop" sound during inhalation, vomiting, exhaustion, and cyanosis (bluish skin due to lack of oxygen).
    • Convalescent stage: Coughing gradually decreases but may persist for several weeks.


  • Diagnosis of whooping cough is based on clinical symptoms, medical history, and laboratory tests including:
    • Nasopharyngeal swab to collect respiratory secretions for PCR testing.
    • Blood tests to detect antibodies against Bordetella pertussis.


  • Early treatment is crucial to prevent complications and reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Antibiotics like azithromycin, erythromycin, or clarithromycin are commonly prescribed to infected individuals to shorten the duration of illness and reduce transmission.
  • Supportive care may include hydration, rest, and monitoring for complications such as pneumonia or dehydration.

Prevention Measures:

  • Vaccination is the most effective method of protection against whooping cough, with vaccines like DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) and Tdap recommended for children.
  • Maintaining proper hygiene, including regular handwashing and covering the mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing, helps prevent transmission.
  • Seeking medical attention upon experiencing symptoms is crucial, and following antibiotic treatment prescribed by a healthcare professional is essential.
  • Adequate rest and isolation while sick are imperative to prevent further spread of the infection.


  • As whooping cough continues to pose a significant health risk, vaccination, hygiene practices, and prompt medical attention remain essential for protecting individuals and communities from this highly contagious disease.




Q.  Discuss the challenges faced by public health systems in managing and mitigating outbreaks of infectious diseases. How can governments and international organizations enhance preparedness and response strategies to address such challenges effectively? (150 Words)