Whooping Cough Increasing in Kansas

June 16, 2012 | Alerts, Health Advice | By: Jennifer Brull | Tags: ,

Kansas has joined several states this year in identifying an increase of pertussis cases (also known as whooping cough). Fifty-six confirmed cases have been reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) as of June 11. In 2011, only 52 confirmed cases were reported for the entire year. During 2011 and 2012, KDHE and local health departments have investigated eight outbreaks, including the ongoing outbreak in Johnson County. KDHE is encouraging everyone to check with their health care provider on their vaccination status and to get vaccinated if not up to date.  Post Rock Family Medicine has the whooping cough booster shot at both the Plainville and Stockton clinics and would be happy to help you determine if your vaccination status is up-to-date and get you boosted if necessary.

Vaccination is an effective way to prevent the spread of pertussis. Pertussis vaccines are recommended for all children and adults. The pertussis vaccine is given in combination with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, called DTaP, and is recommended for children age two months through six years old. A pertussis vaccine for adolescents and adults, called Tdap, is recommended as a one-time booster. It is especially important for anyone who has close contact with babies younger than 12 months to get a dose of Tdap to help protect the baby from whooping cough. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents, health care providers and childcare providers. If someone does experience pertussis after immunization, his or her case is usually milder.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages but is most serious for infants, especially those too young to be vaccinated or who are not fully protected. It causes cold-like symptoms followed by a long, severe cough that can last for weeks. Adolescents and adults often have a milder disease but can still spread it.

Individuals with symptoms should contact their healthcare provider about antibiotic treatment that can shorten the time when they are contagious. Those with pertussis should be isolated from school, work or other activities until completing at least the first five days of the recommended antibiotic therapy.