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Two Pertussis Cases with Exposures at Ephrata Middle School and High School

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Two Pertussis Cases with Exposures at Ephrata Middle School and High School

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May 2, 2012

(Ephrata, WA) Grant County Health District (GCHD) staff are investigating two cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in Grant County residents who spent time at the Ephrata Middle School and High School while contagious April 16-27, 2012. No one has been hospitalized.

In an effort to control the spread of disease, the Health Officer is recommending antibiotic treatment for all people who have come into close contact with whooping cough. GCHD recommends that all close contacts that have a cough be tested for pertussis. “This is not a pertussis outbreak. However, we are working with the Ephrata School District to quickly notify students’ parents/guardians and staff of their possible exposure to control the spread of this highly contagious disease,” states Shawta Sackett, Community Public Health Manager and Epidemiologist.

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one-to-two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes ends with a whooping sound. Fever is rare. Unfortunately, young infants are less likely to have a notable cough – caregivers and health care providers should consider the possibility of pertussis in infants with coughs or colds to help in prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Grant County Health Officer reminds residents:

  • Pertussis is a vaccine preventable disease. To protect our young children every resident must do their part and get vaccinated.
  • Children should get five DTaP vaccinations between two months of age and when they start school.
  • Tdap vaccine is required for 6th grade school entry.
  • The Tdap booster shot is available and recommended for people 11-64.
  • Because immunity from pertussis vaccine or disease wears off, family members and caregivers of infants should make sure they are also up-to-date with their pertussis vaccinations.
  • To protect their babies, parents-to-be, caregivers, and grandparents should get the Tdap booster before, during or immediately after the baby is born.
  • All healthcare workers and childcare providers should be fully immunized for pertussis.
  • The Grant County Health District has Tdap vaccine for adults at our Moses Lake office on Tuesdays from 9:00-11:00 am.

Hear what whooping cough sounds like: www.whoopingcough.net/Whoop-child-slightwhoop.wav
Washington State Department of Health: FAQ on Whooping Cough: www.doh.wa.gov/EHSPHL/factsheet/pertussis.htm
Grant County Health District Whooping Cough web page: www.granthealth.org/pertussis.html

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