Several cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, have been reported in a religious community in Changhua County, a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) official said yesterday.
Three adults and three children were diagnosed with whooping cough in the community earlier this month, CDC Deputy Director-General Chou Chih-hao (周志浩) said.
The community, affiliated with a local religious association, has 32 residents, including 14 people from four different families, 12 volunteer workers and six physically or mentally challenged members who are being sheltered there.
The first two cases -- two infants from different families -- were discovered on Aug. 8, Chou said.
After tests on the rest of the residents, a five-year-old boy and three adults were confirmed to have also been infected, he said, adding that the patients are recovering after being treated with antibiotics.
Chou said while infants in the country are given four doses of pertussis vaccine -- at the age of two months, four months, six months and 18 months -- the infected five-year-old boy had only received the first three doses, while the two infected infants had not received any doses.
The center said that pertussis may start with cold symptoms before developing into episodes of severe coughing, which can lead to vomiting.
However, infants with pertussis may not develop a severe cough and may only have a mild cough and loss of appetite. They may have difficulty breathing or turn a bluish color, CDC officials said.