LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The City of Lubbock Health Department would like to notify citizens and clinicians that a high number of pertussis cases continue to be reported in Lubbock County. As of August, there have been 38 reported cases in Lubbock County. There were 29 total reported cases of pertussis in 2009 and 2 total reported cases in 2008.
Pertussis cases generally increase in the spring and fall months and can spread easily in daycares and schools. Pertussis is also known as Whooping Cough. It is spread when infected persons cough or sneeze the bacteria into the air, and others who are close by then breathe in the bacteria. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings or adults who might not even know they have the disease.
Pertussis can cause illness in people of all ages. Adults and older children may experience a nagging cough that will not go away. Pertussis is worse for infants and younger children, who may have symptoms serious enough to be hospitalized. The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and sometimes mild cough or fever. The cough worsens, becoming severe after 1–2 weeks. Children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they're forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound.
Persons who have a cough that lasts more than two weeks should see their doctor. Antibiotic treatment is very important for infected persons AND for their close contacts even if they are not coughing. Persons who have pertussis should not go to school, daycare, or work and should not be around others, especially infants. Parents can protect infants by keeping them away from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing.
The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. Although vaccinated persons can sometimes get pertussis, they may have a milder case than an unvaccinated person. In the U.S., the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. For maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots by the time they are 4-6 years of age.
Vaccine immunity can fade with time. A booster vaccine is now available for persons 10-64 years of age that contains tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap). Persons in this age group should get a one-time booster dose of Tdap. Getting vaccinated with Tdap is especially important for families with very young infants.
See your health care practitioner if you suspect that you or your child may have Pertussis. More information about Pertussis can be found at www.cdc.gov.
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