Jan 6, 2014 12:15 PM
A total of 29 cases of Pertussis, more commonly known as “Whooping Cough”, have been reported in Butte County as of December 31, 2013, Butte County Public Health stated today. The number is the highest reported in the county since the state-wide outbreak of 2010.
“We know that pertussis is circulating in our community,” said Dr. Mark Lundberg, Butte County Health Officer. “It is extremely important to protect those at highest risk for serious illness, especially young infants and pregnant women.”
Approximately 10,000 to 40,000 cases of Whooping Cough are reported each year in the U.S., according to Butte County Public Health. The disease affects the airways and can be easily passed by coughing or sneezing. The earliest symptoms of the disease are runny nose, sneezing, low or no fever and mild cough. The cough itself can last for weeks or even months sometimes resulting in coughing fits or vomiting. More severe symptoms include difficulty breathing, the face turning red or blue, a “whoop” sound during coughing, extreme tiredness and sweating spells.
Butte County Public Health advised today unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated infants under the age of 12 months have the highest risk for severe or life threatening complications, estimating about 50 percent of infants with Whooping Cough require hospitalization. The department stated vaccination is the best prevention available although the vaccine is not 100 percent effective and protection decreases over time.
The Butte County Public Health Department recommends the following:
All pregnant women should be vaccinated at every pregnancy.
By getting pertussis vaccine (TDaP) during pregnancy, mothers build antibodies that are transferred to newborns before the baby can start getting pertussis vaccine (DTaP)
at 2 months old.
Anyone who is around infants should be up to date for pertussis vaccine.
This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, other family members, babysitters etc.
Children who received DTaP as infants or young children need to receive a booster of DTap beginning at age 11 or before entry into 7th grade.
Discuss PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis with antibiotics) with a doctor if a household member has pertussis. Within families, household contacts are very likely to become ill even if current on their immunizations. Although fully immunized people can become ill with pertussis, the vaccine is effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization.
Discuss PEP with your doctor if you had close contact to a person diagnosed with pertussis (within the last 21 days) and you are at high-risk of severe illness or will be in close contact with a person at high risk of severe illness.
Those at high-risk include:
o Infants under 12 months and women in their third trimester of pregnancy.
o Persons with pre-existing health conditions such as a weakened immune
system or severe asthma.
o Persons who are not ill and not at high risk for severe pertussis illness and
not in close contact with a person at high risk for severe pertussis do not
need to seek medical care.
Common sense reminders to help prevent the spread of pertussis and other illnesses
in our community:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the
tissue in the trash after you use it. If no tissue is available, cough into your sleeve.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use
an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Stay home when sick and keep sick children home from school, daycare and other
group activities. Limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from
spreading the illness (except to get medical care or for other necessities).
For further questions regarding pertussis visit our Butte County Public Health Department
website at www.buttecounty.net/publichealth or call (530) 538-2840.