The Andalusian Association of Family and Community Nursing (Asanec) has warned of the need to “reinforce the vaccination of the virus against whooping cough with an extra dose” given the rise in cases of this respiratory infection in Andalusia. Whooping cough affects all age groups, with adolescents and adults being the main source of transmission.

As explained by Asanec, whooping cough is an endemic respiratory infection, with epidemic outbreaks that occur cyclically. This disease stands out for its high rate of contagion and its transmission occurs through close contact with an infected person through coughing or contact with respiratory secretions.

“The maximum contagiousness of this infection, which is more common in winter and spring, occurs during the catarrhal period and the first two weeks with an incubation period of seven to 20 days,” the association noted. In this sense, the head of immunization at Asanec, Eva Almán, has indicated that whooping cough is especially serious in the first months of life.

“90 percent of hospitalizations occur in children under one year old, with a higher percentage in those under three months old, due to serious complications and even mortality.” Likewise, Almán explained that “the importance of reinforcing pertussis vaccination with a new dose, as recommended by different scientific societies, is mainly due to the fact that the population’s immunity to this disease weakens over time. “.

From Asanec they have recalled that, “in Spain whooping cough has been in a sustained epidemic since 2010.” According to data from the Carlos III Institute, since 2011 an average of 4,000 cases have been reported annually, with a maximum peak between 2014 and 2019. Furthermore, in the report published by the National Center for Epidemiology, which analyzes the period between 2005 and In 2020, a total of 43,534 cases of whooping cough were recorded, registering 10,281 hospitalizations (82.7 percent in children under three months of age).

At the European level, an analysis carried out between 2010 and 2020, in order to know the burden of whooping cough in adults over 50 years of age, has shown how the disease follows similar trends to those of children from zero to four years old, “it is say, it is growing.

Despite having vaccines with acceptable effectiveness and having achieved high vaccine coverage, outbreaks occur cyclically in countries with a high human development index.

In the last two decades, the incidence of whooping cough has increased throughout the world, both in countries with low and high Human Development Index (HDI), making it one of the most prevalent vaccine-preventable diseases.

“This indicates,” Asanec points out, “that current vaccination strategies are insufficient to reduce the burden of the disease in all age groups.”

Almán maintains “the need to be aware that the real incidence is higher, because the low degree of clinical suspicion determines that pertussis in adults frequently remains undiagnosed, with the real burden of the disease being greater.”

Regarding the preventive actions to be carried out against whooping cough, the person responsible for immunization at Asanec has indicated that “they should fundamentally be aimed at protecting infants under three months of age and trying to reduce the incidence in adolescents and adults who act as a reservoir.” and source of infection.

In this way, the most effective measures to control this disease are to maintain a high percentage of vaccinated people: children, adolescents and adults up to 65 years of age, to cut transmission, also avoiding the exposure of infants and others. subjects at high risk of contagion.

In this sense, Asanec considers that “vaccination is the best preventive measure to control this disease.” In Andalusia, the administration of this vaccine is carried out at two, four and eleven months of age, with a booster after six years. “As it does not begin until two months of age, the strategy to protect these infants consists of systematic vaccination against whooping cough for all pregnant women,” he explained.

Thus, the inoculation is carried out after 27 or 28 weeks of gestation, since, in this way, the mother generates antibodies against the disease that will be passed to the fetus through the placenta and will protect it until it can be vaccinated.

Other additional indirect protection measures for infants and children include the vaccination of health professionals, especially those in direct contact with children such as gynecologists, pediatricians, midwives, neonatologists and nurses in pediatric intensive care units, pediatrics and obstetrics, as well as daycare caregivers. Likewise, respiratory isolation of the person with symptoms can be carried out until they have completed at least five days of treatment and, in some cases, treatment of the people who live with them.

Asanec is the Andalusian Association of Family and Community Nursing made up of nurses from all over Andalusia who, without profit, work for and for the development of the profession. As a scientific society, it pursues the improvement of healthcare quality at the community level from the defense of public health, influencing and dialoguing with the Administrations.

Among its purposes is to provide training and research in nursing practice to offer quality care to the community, as well as to collaborate with other scientific societies and associations for the better development of the profession.