Health Alert for Randolph School District

News from Health, Posted on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 1:55pm

There have been 5 confirmed cases of Pertussis and 3 probable cases since the beginning of the school year. Pertussis or whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease involving the respiratory tract. Whooping cough can occur at any age. It is recommended that children receive a basic series of DTaP at 2 months of age and subsequent doses given at 4.6. & 15 - 18 months of age and that a booster be given before entering kindergarten.

Please take this opportunity to review immunization records of any children under 7 years of age and make sure children are up to date with Pertussis vaccine. Please note anyone between the ages of 11 and 64 can have a TDaP vaccine as long as there has been 2 years since the Td vaccine.

The illness starts with symptoms similar to a common cold and progresses within two weeks to a more severe cough chuacrerized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs followed by a crowing or high pitched "whoop". These episodes may recur for one to two months and are more frequent at night. Adult cases often do not exhibit the "whoop" but have prolonged coughing. Complications may include pneumonia. middle ear infection. loss of appetite, dehydration, seizures, encephalopathy (disorders of the brain), apneic episodes (brief cessation of breathing) and death.

The incubation period, the length of time between exposure until symptoms develop, is usually 5-10 days but may be as long as 21 days. Diagnosis can be made through laboratory testing. If diagnosed with whooping cough, the period of spreading the disease can be reduced with antibiotic treatment such as Zithromax for 5 days
or Erythromycin for 14 days or Bactrim for 14 days.

The single most effective control measure is maintain the highest possible level of immunization in the community. Also it is important to carefully cover the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing occurs. Individuals who may have the whooping cough should stay away from other people until properly treated. It is important to contact your medical care provider if symptoms appear and if an individual is ill, that
they do not attend school, after school activities and work. Hands should be frequently washed with warm soapy water or alcohol based hand cleaner.

For more about Pertussis, please visit the Pertussis page on the NYS Health Department website.

For more information. contact the Cattaraugus County Health Department at 716-373-8050 or 1-800-251-2584.

News from Health

Filed under: health alert, pertussis, whooping cough