The biggest epidemic of "whooping cough" in Croatia in the last 40 years

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Since the beginning of the year, 1.047 cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in Croatia, which is the largest epidemic in the past 40 years, since the last time in 1980 over 1.000 cases were registered.

"We have a large increase in the number of people suffering from whooping cough, more cases have been registered than more than 40 years ago," Bernard Kaić, head of the Department of Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, told Index.

According to the data of HZJZ, of the total number of sick people this year, about half are in Zagreb, and about 40 percent in Split-Dalmatia county, with the number of infected people probably being significantly higher, because not all sick people come for testing. So far, there have been no confirmed deaths from whooping cough.

Kaić believes that the reason for this situation is a combination of several factors.

"The reasons may be the decline in vaccination coverage, but also the so-called immune debt caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The decline in the number of vaccinated, however, alone cannot explain this increase in the number of patients. "There have always been those in the population for whom the vaccine did not provide sufficient protection, and at the same time, the vaccine against whooping cough is not 100 percent effective, but somewhere between 85 and 90 percent, and it weakens over time," said Kaić.

He indicated that adults should not panic too much about whooping cough, but they must avoid contact with pregnant women and small children.

Whooping cough is not a serious disease for adults, unless they have severe chronic diseases and severely impaired immunity. Whooping cough is dangerous for small children, and for adults it is just a strong and unpleasant cough that lasts a long time, explained Kaić.

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