Pertussis Confirmed in Cascade County

The City-County Health Department (CCHD) has received confirmation of Cascade County’s first Pertussis case of 2012.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease that spreads through the air by cough. Almost all cases can be effectively treated by a health care professional if identified early. The disease is most serious and most likely to develop in very young infants-especially those under the age of six months. Infants should be kept away from anyone diagnosed with Pertussis or identified as a close contact of someone who has been diagnosed. Infants with any coughing illness should be promptly evaluated by their doctor.

Pertussis typically begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fit”) followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. Coughing fits may also be followed by vomiting or turning blue and are often worse at night. There is generally no fever, and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough. Anyone experiencing these symptoms or who has children experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider.

“Pertussis is a highly contagious illness that can be very serious and even fatal, especially for infants under 6 months of age,” states Alicia Thompson, Health Officer for the CCHD. “This is an important time for us to come together to help protect the health of infants and the community as a whole. Please ensure that your immunizations are up to date, and seek medical treatment if you or someone in your family is showing symptoms of Pertussis.”

CCHD works to identify close contacts of anyone diagnosed with Pertussis. Those identified will be contacted by CCHD and referred to their provider for evaluation and treatment. This is an important step to help lessen further spread of this disease.

The most effective way to prevent Pertussis is through vaccination. Cascade County residents should ensure their immunizations and their children’s immunizations up to date. CCHD has vaccine available for underinsured and uninsured adults who have contact with infants. The target population for this vaccine includes new parents, grandparents and childcare providers.

For more information on Pertussis, contact a Public Health Nurse at 454-6950 or download our printable fact sheet.