Pertussis Case Confirmed in Rock County

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 --- 4:30p.m.

Release from Rock County Health Dept.:

Karen Cain, Public Health Officer with the Rock County Health Department, announced today that pertussis (whooping cough) has been confirmed in 3 individuals in Rock County.

Cain explains the health department is taking the necessary steps to stop the spread of the disease. “Public Health Nurses are contacting all known contacts to determine their risk for developing pertussis,” she states. “They are also working with the family involved to minimize risk to the public.”

Pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease that affects the respiratory tract. Anyone can be infected, but it is more serious in infants and young children. The bacteria are spread by contact with the respiratory droplets from an infected person through coughing. Cain emphasizes that the exposure occurs only through repeated indoor face-to-face contact.

Cain recommends that the general public make themselves aware of the symptoms of pertussis. In infants and young children, the disease begins much like a cold with a runny nose, possible low grade fever and a mild but irritating cough for 1-2 weeks. The illness progresses to spells of explosive coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating and sleeping and is commonly followed by vomiting and exhaustion. Following the cough, the patients may make a loud crowing or "whooping" sound as they struggle to inhale air (hence the common name "whooping cough"). The severe coughing spells can last for several weeks to two months or longer. In older children, adolescents and adults the symptoms are usually milder and without the typical whoop.

For individuals who are not up to date with their immunizations, vaccines can be obtained at a physician’s office or at the Rock County Health Department.

For more information on pertussis or vaccinations, contact the health department at 757-5440 or 364-2010.

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