Bulgaria: Chief Health Inspector Discusses Response to Potential Whooping Cough Epidemic - Will it Resemble COVID-19?

Health | April 25, 2024, Thursday // 10:01|  views

In a recent interview with BTA, Associate Professor Angel Kunchev, the chief state health inspector, addressed the potential declaration of an epidemic of whooping cough and outlined the measures that would be taken in response.

According to Kunchev, even if an epidemic of whooping cough were declared, the stringent anti-epidemic measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic would not be imposed. He emphasized that the pressure on the health system would not be as intense, citing data indicating that only 5-10% of individuals with whooping cough require hospitalization, primarily for observation rather than intensive treatment.

Reflecting on the situation in Europe over the past year, Kunchev noted that pertussis (whooping cough) cases have generally been mild, particularly among individuals who are immunized. However, diagnosing the disease in immunized patients can be challenging due to the similarity of symptoms with those caused by other respiratory viruses.

Kunchev highlighted the importance of making diagnostics more accessible across the country and ensuring that certain groups of patients receive free testing, facilitated by epidemiologists. Regarding treatment, he stressed the significance of early intervention with antibiotics to mitigate risks, especially in children and pregnant women.

The chief health inspector acknowledged societal concerns about the potential epidemic but reassured the public that the health authorities are not spreading panic. He emphasized the effectiveness of protective measures such as wearing masks in preventing the transmission of airborne diseases like whooping cough.

While Kunchev ruled out a return to the strict measures enforced during the COVID-19 pandemic, he advocated for targeted interventions, including mask-wearing for symptomatic individuals and increased diagnostic accessibility. He also addressed challenges related to vaccine efficacy and public immunization, emphasizing the importance of vaccination in maintaining herd immunity.

In addition to discussing whooping cough, Kunchev touched on other public health issues, including measles, dengue fever, and vector-borne diseases. He underscored the importance of proactive measures to combat mosquito-borne illnesses, including larvicidal treatments in stagnant water areas.

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Tags: Bulgaria, health, Whooping Cough, epidemic


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