The Montgomery County Health Department is reporting a case of pertussis (whooping cough) in the county.
“It is critical that children, as well as their parents, get vaccinated for pertussis to prevent this difficult and highly contagious illness, which can be easily spread to other family members and community members,” said Montgomery County Health Department director Carolyn Muller. “This should help reduce the number of cases in children who are too young to be fully vaccinated.”
Muller said the single most effective control measure is immunization of the most vulnerable population against pertussis. Immunization is recommended at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months of age with a booster at kindergarten entry. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that persons 11 years of age and older receive the Tdap vaccine (Tetanus and Diphtheria and Pertussis).
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person. It is spread through the air during talking, sneezing or coughing. It can be a serious illness, especially for young infants. During the first one to two weeks, persons with whooping cough may only experience a runny nose and non-productive cough, similar to a cold. Young children may have more serious coughing fits, often followed by a whooping sound as they try to catch their breath. After coughing, a person often feels well.
Coughing spells may continue for several weeks or months. Adults and children 7 years of age and older who get whooping cough may have only a prolonged cough.
Although whooping cough is often thought of as a childhood disease, whooping cough can occur among persons of any age, she said.
Anyone with an unexplained acute cough illness or who has had close contact to a person with whooping cough should contact their health care provider. Early diagnosis and treatment can shorten the contagious period. Antibiotics should be given to all household or other high risk close contacts to prevent the spread of the disease.
Parents are also advised to keep infants-especially those less than six months of age-away from persons with a cough illness because infants are more likely to experience severe illness if they develop whooping cough.
For more information on whooping cough, contact your local health department at (620) 251-4210 or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317.