Whooping Cough Spreading In Benewah County - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Whooping Cough Spreading In Benewah County

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM BENEWAH COUNTY: Whooping cough has spread to 16 children in Benewah County in a slow-moving outbreak that has landed one child in the hospital.
Children diagnosed with whooping cough—pertussis—range in age from 3 months to 17 years and in locations from Fernwood to Santa to St. Maries. The hospitalized child has returned home and is improving.
"We suspect exposures are occurring at a couple of churches and daycares," said Jeff Lee, PHD epidemiologist.  "Pertussis is highly contagious in group settings—within families, work settings."
 
Most of the children with pertussis were not immunized. The pertussis vaccine protects people from getting the disease, but it doesn't work completely for all people. Still, it has been shown to prevent serious symptoms in people who have been vaccinated.
The first known case in Benewah County was reported May 27. Eleven cases have been confirmed by nose and throat swab testing. Five additional cases are probable, but have not been confirmed with a test.
Since January, a total of 24 cases of pertussis have been reported in the five northern counties—8 in Kootenai County and 16 in Benewah County. Last year, northern Idaho had 74 cases of pertussis with no deaths. The five northern counties typically report six or seven cases of whooping cough per year.
Pertussis is among the diseases childhood vaccinations help prevent. It's a highly contagious illness characterized 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 one year of age. Most pertussis deaths occur in unvaccinated children or in children too young to be vaccinated.
Pertussis typically starts with a runny nose and watery eyes, but a cough takes over in a week or two. Anyone with symptoms should contact a doctor. 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 early in the infection, sometimes before the coughing starts, and stay contagious for up to three weeks after the cough starts. Doctor-prescribed antibiotics can kill the infection and prevent it from spreading. Patients need to complete five days of antibiotics before they're considered no longer contagious.
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. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that entire families take the antibiotics if any one member of the family is diagnosed with pertussis.
      
The DTaP immunization, which contains pertussis vaccine, is available at PHD for children younger than 6. A pertussis booster vaccination, Tdap, is available at PHD for anyone age 11 or older.
Because pertussis is highly contagious and dangerous for babies, adults around infants are advised to get a Tdap. For immunizations, call PHD:
 
  • Benewah County – 245-4556
  • Bonner County – 263-5159
  • Boundary County – 267-5558
  • Kootenai County – 415-5270
  • Shoshone County – 786-7474
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