Whooping cough cases surface in Clark County

Infants and children at highest risk

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The Clark County Health Department recently announced that several cases of whooping cough in area schools and other community settings have been reported.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious disease spread through the air by coughing.

It usually begins with cold-like symptoms and a cough that worsens over one to two weeks. Symptoms include coughing “fits” followed by a “whooping” noise, vomiting, cyanosis or the inability to catch one’s breath.

The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not eliminate the cough. Persons infected with whooping cough usually do not have a fever.

In older children and adults, symptoms may be limited to a cough that lasts a long time and is worse at night. This illness is often very severe in small infants.

Although adults and children may catch pertussis, even if they have had all or some of their immunizations, vaccination against pertussis is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of getting this disease, according to Clark County Public Health.

People exposed to pertussis can lower the risk of becoming ill by taking antibiotics prescribed by a health care provider. Those who are already ill from exposure to someone with pertussis can take antibiotics to recover more quickly and reduce the risk of spreading pertussis to others.

Clark County Public Health recommendations include:

1.If cold or coughing illness and the symptoms are still present after two weeks, get evaluated promptly by a doctor for pertussis infection.

2.Pregnant women, especially those in the third trimester, who believe they may have been exposed to someone with pertussis, should ask a doctor about getting antibiotics to prevent the development of illness even if symptoms are not present. Antibiotics must be taken as soon as possible after exposure.

3.Make pertussis vaccinations are current. Pertussis vaccines are recommended for both children and adults. Adults and adolescents should have a booster shot to be protected against pertussis.

For more information, call the Clark County Public Health Department at (360) 397-8182.