Two cases of Pertussis confirmed in Grant County

Two cases of Pertussis confirmed in Grant County

The Grant County Health District is warning parents that there have been two confirmed cases of Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, in two area schools.

The first person with whooping cough has five family members with symptoms of the virus and attended Park Orchard Elementary, in Moses Lake, while contagious. The second case is from a student at Lake Roosevelt school in Grand Coulee.

The schools sent home exposure letters to parents. By Washington law, students must have a Pertussis vaccine, or have filed a waiver, to attend school. If you have a child who isn’t up to date on their vaccines that child may be excluded from school. Students with symptoms of whooping cough will also be excluded and evaluated for the sickness.

Whooping cough is highly contagious and starts with a cough and becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms include:
-fits of rapid coughs followed by a high pitched “whoop”
-vomiting during or after coughing fits
-exhaustion after coughing fits

Because whooping cough in its early stages appears to be nothing more than the common cold, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear.

It is important to follow the immunizations scheduled because immunity from the Pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine or disease wears off. The vaccine is particularly important to those who could expose infants (pregnant women, family members, healthcare and daycare workers, etc.) and where the disease can spread rapidly (schools, hospitals, etc.).

Below is the recommended Whooping Cough vaccine schedule:

1. Babies need 4 DTap vaccines (at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 15-18 months old),

2. 5th DTap vaccine at 4-6 years old,

3. Older children need the Tdap booster at > 10 years old/ before entry into the 6th grade, or after 7 years of age if not properly immunized with DTap according the schedule,

4. All adults need at least onetime Tdap vaccine; pregnant women need one Tdap each pregnancy.

Please contact your doctor/healthcare clinic or a GCHD nurse if you would like more information. Vaccination is available at healthcare clinics and many pharmacies.

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