Whooping Cough Continues to Circulate in Kootenai County - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Whooping Cough Continues to Circulate in Kootenai County

 

HAYDEN, Idaho. - Whooping cough cases continue to show up in Kootenai County although sporadically and separated geographically so none of the cases appear related.
So far this year, Kootenai County has had 38 cases of whooping cough, nearly five times more than in recent years.
 
In 2009, eight cases of pertussis were reported to the Panhandle Health District (PHD) for the entire year in the five northern counties. In 2008, seven cases were reported and in 2007, six cases were reported. "Our numbers show pertussis up significantly," said Randi Lustig, PHD's epidemiology program manager. "Parents need to be vigilant of cough illnesses."
Cases have ranged from schools and child care centers in Athol and Rathdrum to Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene.
 
"People need to recognize that the lasting cough they have or their children may have may not be bronchitis or the flu or an allergy," Lustig said.
 
Petussis is among the diseases childhood vaccinations help prevent. It's a highly contagious illness recognized by severe coughing spells that can cause vomiting and lack of breath. Untreated, pertussis can develop into pneumonia, seizures and encephalitis.
It's particularly dangerous for children younger than a year old. Most pertussis deaths occur in unvaccinated children or in children too young to be vaccinated.
 
Pertussis typically starts with a runny nose, but a cough quickly takes over. People spread pertussis by coughing or sneezing while they're in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria.
People with pertussis are contagious before the cough starts and stay contagious for up to three weeks. Doctor-prescribed antibiotics can kill the infection and prevent it from spreading.
 
Children diagnosed with pertussis need to stay home from school, child care and/or summer camp until they have completed five days of antibiotic treatment.
   
A pertussis booster vaccination is available at PHD for anyone age 11 or older. The pertussis vaccine helps prevent serious symptoms but doesn't guarantee protection from a lesser degree of infection. For information on pertussis, visit the PHD website at www.phd1.idaho.gov.

 

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