A previously reported rise in whooping cough cases in Sabah (76 in April 2023) underscores the urgency of a global resurgence.

In the meantime, NDTV World reports the highly contagious respiratory illness is causing deaths in China, Philippines, Czech Republic, and Netherlands, with outbreaks in the US and UK.

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough, a potentially fatal bacterial infection, primarily targets infants and young children. Early symptoms mimic a common cold, making detection difficult.

Vaccination is crucial for vulnerable populations.


1. Runny/stuffy nose

2. Low-grade fever

3. Mild cough (except in babies)

4. In infants, apnea (breathing pauses) and cyanosis (bluish skin)

Later Stages:

1. Severe coughing fits with a characteristic “whooping” sound upon inhalation

2. Vomiting

3. Exhaustion

4. Difficulty breathing

5. Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors diagnose whooping cough by considering contact with infected individuals and performing physical exams, lab tests, and blood tests.

With early antibiotic treatment, it can lessen the severity and prevent transmission. However, after three weeks, medication offers little benefit.


1. Vaccination (DTaP vaccine)

2. Good hygiene practices (coughing/sneezing etiquette, handwashing)

Please do keep an eye out for signs in your children, as this global epidemic underlines the need of immunisation and cleanliness in protecting yourself and others, particularly vulnerable groups.

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