Whooping cough on the rise in North Idaho
October 2, 2013
Whooping cough (pertussis) continues to infect
people throughout the five northern counties,
pushing the annual average number of cases from
six to 54 since 2009.
Northern Idaho’s number of whooping cough cases
began climbing in 2010. In 2009, six cases were
reported in the five northern counties. In 2010,
that number climbed to 74, then 100 in 2011.
Last year, the number fell to 37. Thirty-six
cases already have been reported this year and
three months are left. In 2011, 31 cases had
been reported by the end of September, but the
year ended with 100.
The pertussis vaccine helps protect people from
the highly contagious illness. Untreated,
whooping cough can develop into pneumonia,
seizures and encephalitis. It’s particularly
dangerous for children younger than a year old.
“People who have severe coughing spells that
don’t improve or go away within two weeks should
consider that they may have pertussis and seek
medical attention” said Mary Petty, Community
Services program manager for the Panhandle
Health District (PHD).
PHD provides both the DTaP immunization for
children younger than 6 and the Tdap pertussis
booster for anyone age 11 and older. Children
start the DTaP series when they’re 2 months old
and complete the series by age 6.
Protection from the vaccine wears off over time.
A booster shot, Tdap, provides protection for
adolescents and adults. Only one dose is needed.
In Idaho, children entering seventh grade are
required to have the Tdap booster. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention recommends
the Tdap booster for all adults and particularly
for those in contact with infants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
now recommends that pregnant women have a Tdap
with each pregnancy, ideally between 27 and 36
Pertussis typically starts with a runny nose,
but a cough quickly takes over. People spread
pertussis by coughing and sneezing while they’re
in close contact with others who then breathe in
the pertussis bacteria.
People with pertussis are contagious before the
cough starts and stay contagious for up to three
weeks. Doctor-prescribed antibiotics can kill
the infection and prevent it from spreading.
For an immunization appointment at PHD, call:
· Benewah County – 208-245-4556
· Bonner County – 208-263-5159
· Boundary County – 208-267-5558
· Kootenai County – 208-415-5270
· Shoshone County – 208-786-7474
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