City of Midland: Whooping Cough Alert 8/2/12
City of Midland
August 2, 2012
The Midland Health and Senior Services reports confirmed cases of Pertussis. Health officials with the City of Midland are currently investigating and working with the community to contain the spread of disease.
Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a bacterial disease that transmits easily from person to person. It can be a serious disease, particularly for infants less than one year of age. The early stages of pertussis may look like a minor upper respiratory infection. During the first 1 to 2 weeks of illness, persons with pertussis may only experience a runny nose and non-productive cough, similar to a cold. This period is followed by episodes of severe coughing spasms, so severe that the spasms can cause a person to vomit. These coughing spasms can last for several weeks or more. Adults and children 7 years of age and older who get pertussis may have only a prolonged cough.
Although pertussis is often thought of as a childhood disease (affecting primarily infants and children less than 5 years of age), pertussis can occur among persons of any age. School-aged children and adolescents can introduce pertussis into households where there are susceptible preschool-age children and infants.
Anyone with an unexplained acute cough illness should contact their health care provider for evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment may lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten the period of communicability. Antibiotics are routinely given to all household and other close contacts to prevent spread of the disease.
Prompt identification of cases can also help identify undervaccinated or unvaccinated children. Parents are urged to check their children’s shot records to be sure they are completely vaccinated against pertussis. (Pertussis vaccine is given to all children. Parents who have insurance should contact their family doctor or clinic. Parents who are unsure about their child’s vaccine status should contact their family doctor or Midland Health and Senior Services.
Parents are also advised to keep infants less than one year of age – particularly those less than 6 months of age – away from persons with a cough illness because infants are more likely to experience severe illness if they develop pertussis.
For more information on pertussis, contact Midland Health and Senior Services at 432-681-7613.