Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 3 of this year, 1,217 cases of pertussis were reported in Colorado. This is a six-fold increase in the number of cases usually seen annually in Colorado.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a very contagious illness, especially in infants and young children.
Closer to home, students at Delta County schools have been diagnosed with pertussis which is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and another individual breathes in the bacteria. Symptoms of pertussis usually develop seven to 10 days after exposure but can develop from four to 21 days after exposure.
Pertussis begins with a cough that progressively becomes more severe until the person develops coughing fits. In between coughing fits, the individual may look and feel fine. Vomiting, breathlessness, a change in facial color, and/or a whooping sound may follow the coughing fits. Pertussis may be very severe in infants and young children (especially those without 3 doses of pertussis vaccine), and may result in hospitalization, seizures, long-term neurological problems, and even death. Pertussis can also occur in immunized individuals because the immunity gained from childhood vaccination typically wanes by adolescence.
Persons with a persistent cough should inform their physician of their possible exposure to pertussis and be examined. If your physician suspects pertussis, you should be tested and receive an appropriate antibiotic.
Delta County Health Department (DCHD) staff recommends that you review immunization records of all children, adolescents and adults in your household to ensure they are up-to-date on their DTaP/Tdap shots. Caregivers of young children should also ensure that they are up-to-date on their Tdap vaccinations.
In summary, DCHD staff recommends the following:
•Contact your health care provider if you have a persistent cough.
•If diagnosed with pertussis, complete a course of an appropriate antibiotic for pertussis.
•Individuals diagnosed with pertussis will be excluded from school/child care until they have completed five days of an appropriate antibiotic.
•Review the DTaP/Tdap immunization records of all members of your household and arrange for vaccination if not up to date.
If you have any questions please contact Kelly Beard, immunization nurse at the Delta County Health Department, 874-2179.blog comments powered by Disqus