The Ministry of Health continues to monitor the potential spread of pertussis, a bacterial infection most commonly known as whooping cough, in the country. Earlier this month, the Ministry was notified that a tourist who had been diagnosed with the disease had travelled to Belize in the third week of March. An investigation was immediately launched since the tourist had been to different places in Belize and come in contact with a number of people during his/her stay in the country. Epidemiologist in the Ministry Russel Manzanero says they have so far not confirmed any cases of the infection.
Russel Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health: “Fortunately we’ve had no suspected cases so fortunately yes.”
Reporter: Is there still a time frame that you are looking at that somebody may develop this cough?
Russel Manzanero, Epidemiologist, Ministry of Health: “Well given the time frame that individual was in the country and after he left we are still giving that time frame of two to three weeks which we are still in so during this time until the following week we are trying to monitor all the situations of anybody who would come with a suspected flu like symptom. So any of those that come in contact we want to follow and keep a track of. We are still doing our contact tracing, we do have the individuals who we would classify as the most likely exposed from San Pedro and those areas so those are the individuals who we would need to monitor. Of course any other contact that came in close to those contacts are the ones also being followed so it’s a pretty large number but we have
Manzanero says they are monitoring both children and adults. The symptoms of pertussis or whooping cough include very violent and uncontrollable episodes of coughing; difficulty breathing with a ‘whooping noise’ usually at the end of the coughing episode; vomiting that occurs during or after coughing; and exhaustion after the coughing episode.