Whooping Cough has made landfall in Lincoln County – kids need shots and teens and adults need boosters!
Lincoln County reports two cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in the last two weeks. County and state public health officials recommend individuals age 2 months and older should receive regular DTaP vaccinations (for children through age 6) as well as one routine Tdap booster (for adolescents and adults, starting at age 10) to protect themselves and those around them from whooping cough—especially people who are in contact with infants.
Symptoms: Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by bacteria. Pertussis begins with a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and mild cough. The cough gradually becomes more severe, and after a week or two, the second stage of the illness begins, which is characterized by violent coughing spasms ending with a gasp or whoop as the patient tries to get air. Sometimes the burst of coughing results in vomiting. This stage of the illness may persist for up to 10 weeks. Pertussis cases are contagious for the first two weeks of illness (during cold-like symptoms) and then less so, for up to three weeks after the whooping cough begins.
Transmission: Pertussis if spread by respiratory droplets that tend to fall to the ground a few feet from a person coughing, laughing, talking, shouting or singing, it is not airborne. Pertussis is quite contagious among close contacts, usually:
* Everyone who lives with the sick person;
* Persons who were face-to-face and within “spitting distance” of sick person for more than an hour during contagious period;
* Persons who had direct contact with respiratory, oral or nasal secretions while the sick person was
Prevention: “The best way to protect yourself and your family from pertussis is to get vaccinated. Pertussis immunity from vaccination may wane over time, though, so it’s important that new mothers, fathers and grandparents especially get another pertussis vaccination to protect their baby from whooping cough,” says Rebecca Austen, “Pregnant women should be vaccinated during each pregnancy, because their antibodies will protect their baby even before the baby can be vaccinated.”
It is also important for health care providers to make sure they are up-to-date on their pertussis immunizations. Before the pertussis vaccine became available in the 1940s, pertussis was a common childhood disease with more than 200,000 cases a year in the United States. Since widespread vaccination, pertussis has
decreased more than 80 percent.
Pertussis is a required immunization in Oregon schools, but the disease is making a comeback: In 2012, the number of reported cases in Oregon reached the highest annual count since 1953 with 910 reported cases. In 2014, California declared a whooping cough epidemic; there were 8,749 confirmed cases in 2014; 1 infant died from the disease.
For more information on pertussis, visit http://1.usa.gov/vpdpertussis. To obtain a pertussis vaccination, call your health care provider or Lincoln County Public Health department 541-265-4112.