Local students contract whooping cough
June 6, 2017
In recent weeks, several East Grand School District students have been diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough, a contagious illness that 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.
Adults and children with a cough should inform their physician of the possible exposure to pertussis and be examined. If your physician suspects pertussis you should be tested — PCR is the preferred test — and receive an appropriate antibiotic for pertussis. Those diagnosed with pertussis cannot return to school, camp, daycare or work until completing five days of an appropriate antibiotic.
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 three doses of pertussis vaccine, resulting in hospitalization, seizures, long-term neurological problems, and even death. Pertussis can occur in immunized individuals, because the immunity gained from vaccination typically wanes by adolescence.
The Grand County Public Health Department recommends families review immunization records of all children, adolescents and adults in their household to ensure they are up-to-date on their DTaP/Tdap shots. DTaP —Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis — vaccine is administered to children less than seven years of age. A single dose of Tdap — Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis — vaccine is recommended for persons 11 to 64 years of age.
In summary, the health department recommends the following:
Contact your health care provider if you or your child has a 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/camp/work until they have completed 5 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.