Children’s hospital prepares for whooping cough: ‘Never seen so much’ | Domestic

Children’s hospital prepares for whooping cough: ‘Never seen so much’ | Domestic
Children’s hospital prepares for whooping cough: ‘Never seen so much’ | Domestic
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The children’s department of the Deventer Hospital has made preparations for a whooping cough epidemic. The disease is especially dangerous for very young children, but is currently spreading rapidly. “Normally I might have five patients in a year, not five in a day.”

Relatively speaking, the most whooping cough cases are reported in the Overijssel region, but this is not yet visible in the children’s department of the Deventer Hospital. There are no whooping cough patients there on the day that pediatrician Monique Gorissen shows the ward.

The preparations for the epidemic are therefore not as visible as, for example, the measures taken during the corona pandemic. No special departments and protective suits, but a kind of “minina training” for the employees.

“Do we recognize it, do we recognize all its forms and are we sure that we recognize it in time? We all know that, but you have to refresh it,” Gorissen explains. Other preparations are more practical: are there enough antibiotics? Are the laboratories able to test quickly?

Wat is kinkhoest?

Kinkhoest wordt veroorzaakt door een bacterie. Mensen met kinkhoest lijken vaak eerst een neusverkoudheid te hebben. Meestal gaan ze pas na een of twee weken hoesten. Soms klinkt de hoest als een blaf of wordt een lange hoestaanval gevolgd door een piepende inademing.

Kinkhoest is heel gevaarlijk voor met name de allerkleinsten. Zieke baby’s kunnen uitgeput raken door het hoesten, waardoor ze stoppen met drinken. Ook kan het hoesten leiden tot zuurstofgebrek.

Persistent cough for weeks that can be dangerous

For the majority of children, whooping cough is just an annoying cough that persists for weeks. But very younger children often do not have the strength to cope with the cough properly. The disease can therefore be very dangerous for them. They are therefore almost always admitted to hospital.

The cases that Gorissen has seen recently are progressing “pretty neatly”. But, she emphasizes, this mainly concerned very young children whose mothers have been vaccinated. “Those children then get a minor form of whooping cough, not so serious.”

But if a child has whooping cough and is doing badly, there is only so much a doctor can do, says Gorissen. “It is a disease that we know: if things go wrong, we do our utmost, but then it is sometimes very difficult to treat.”

That happened a few years ago, when one of the hospital’s whooping cough patients died. “We all have that on our minds.”

Sanne Oving is binnenlandverslaggever bij NU.nl

Sanne volgt voor NU.nl grote binnenlandse thema’s, zoals zorg en asiel.

Largest number of cases in ten years

Whooping cough is currently circulating noticeably, which increases the risk of very sick patients. Last week, the RIVM reported almost 7,200 infections, the largest number in ten years. 375 cases involved babies, half of whom had to be admitted to hospital. The vast majority of patients were not vaccinated and/or had an unvaccinated mother.

According to experts, the cause of the increasing number of whooping cough reports is mainly the declining vaccination rate. Young children can be vaccinated against whooping cough with the so-called DKTP vaccination from the national vaccination program. Pregnant women can protect their very young child by getting the so-called 22-week shot.

But for most vaccinations from the national vaccination program, the vaccination rate is below the 95 percent limit. In some cases the vaccination rate is even below 90 percent.

Since the corona pandemic, there seems to be more skepticism against vaccinations in society. The RIVM is concerned about the declining vaccination rate and many doctors are also stepping up to increase vaccination willingness.

‘Never seen so much whooping cough’

Gorissen also sees the increase in the number of whooping cough cases. “I have been a pediatrician for fifteen years now, but I have never seen so much whooping cough.” Many of her patients who come to consultation hours for their asthmatic complaints, for example, indicate that they think they have whooping cough. Five more of these patients reported to Gorissen on Monday and Tuesday. “I never have that otherwise. Then I might have five in a year, not five in a day.”

Gorissen and her colleagues now advise more actively on vaccinations. “If there are children, we now ask even more fanatically than before. Is your child fully vaccinated? Why not, can we discuss this?”

The GGD IJsselland has also seen the number of questions about vaccination increase slightly. The questions are mainly about whether the child is sufficiently protected, concerns about the spread of whooping cough and about the 22-week injection, says Martijn Spoelstra. He is a staff doctor for Youth Health Care at GGD IJsselland.

Vaccination remains important, says Gorissen. “Ultimately, what matters is that there are fewer infections throughout the group.” There is a small group of people who really do not want to be vaccinated due to religious or philosophical beliefs, and according to Gorissen that is also possible.

“But there is also a group that wants to do very well for the child and finds it complicated to administer something to a healthy child. We think that that group can be motivated if those people hear about it properly. That group If we really need it, then we can have that few percent.”

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Childrens hospital prepares whooping cough Domestic

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