Press release from Henderson County Department of Public Health:
Pertussis Outbreak Situation Report
December 4, 2017
A. Number of Cases: 13- Cases are throughout the community, not only in schools
B. Approximately 1,000 individuals in schools and the community have been identified as having close contact with someone who has pertussis.
II. What is Pertussis?
A. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a serious respiratory infection caused by the pertussis bacteria that affects the lungs and breathing tubes. Whooping cough is easily spread when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes.
1. Can begin up to 21 days after exposure
2. Start much like the common cold with sneezing, runny nose, mild cough
3. Coughing fits that may cause vomiting and make it hard to breathe can begin 1-2 weeks after first symptoms and can last for months.
C. Who is at Risk
1. Anyone can get whooping cough. Even those who have been fully vaccinated can get the infection but will have milder symptoms.
2. Whooping cough is especially dangerous for infants, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.
D. What should I do?
1. If you have been notified that you or a family member may have been exposed:
a) If the person who had contact with a case has symptoms, STAY HOME TO KEEP OTHERS FROM GETTING SICK and contact your doctor for appropriate care.
(1) If the doctor thinks you may have whooping cough and gives you an antibiotic, you should stay home until you finish taking the medication.
b) If the person who had contact does NOT have symptoms but has an infant, pregnant woman or someone with a weakened immune system in their home, contact the health department or school nurse.
2. If you have NOT been notified that you or a family member may have been exposed and you have symptoms, STAY HOME TO KEEP OTHERS FROM GETTING SICK and contact your doctor for appropriate care.
III. Key Messages
A. Whooping cough is very dangerous, especially to infants, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems.
B. It can be spread easily person to person.
C. Anyone can get whooping cough. Even if you have been vaccinated protection can lessen over time. If you have been vaccinated against whooping cough you may have milder symptoms.
D. The symptoms often start off mild, like a cold – runny nose, sneezing, mild cough.
E. Pertussis is not the only respiratory illness in our community. It is also Flu Season. As with all respiratory illnesses, if you are sick – please stay home to keep others from getting sick, and reach out to your doctor for appropriate care.
F. If your doctor thinks you have whooping cough and treats you with an antibiotic, you should stay home until you have finished the medication.