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Quartzsite, Arizona

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Whooping cough epidemic in California

California officials have declared a Whooping Cough Epidemic!
A six baby has died in LA County. Local residents and folks working with the public need to be aware of the disease and take precautions to prevent the spread of the illness.

There have only been 7 cases in Eastern Riverside County which includes the Coachella Valley and Blythe, none fatal. For the full story, visit:

The following information is from the Arizona Dept. of Health Services,

What is pertussis?

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is vaccine-preventable. Coughing is the primary symptom of pertussis; fever is not present or is minimal throughout the course of illness. The cough of a patient with pertussis may begin as a mild cough and progress to attacks (paroxysms) of coughing, accompanied by gagging and/or vomiting. Some persons with pertussis make a "whoop" sound when they breath in after coughing.

Who can get pertussis?
Pertussis may affect anyone regardless of their age and vaccination status. It is most common in unimmunized or inadequately immunized persons (who typically experience more severe disease) and persons with waning immunity (protection from the vaccine lasts 5-10 years from the last dose).

How is pertussis spread?
Pertussis is spread through close contact with droplets from the mouth and nose of an infected person. Spread can happen when the infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.

What are they symptoms of pertussis?
The initial symptoms of pertussis are similar to a mild cold and include runny nose and mild cough. The illness then progresses to episodes of severe coughing spasms. These episodes may ultimately last for several months duration and tend to be worse at night. Vomiting may occur after coughing episodes. The person with pertussis may look and feel healthy between coughing episodes. Immunized children, adolescents, and adults may have milder symptoms than unimmunized persons.

How soon after infection do symptoms appear?
Symptoms may appear between 7 - 10 days after exposure to an infected person (range 4-21 days). Rarely, this period may be as long as 42 days.

How long can someone spread pertussis?
A person with pertussis is considered infectious for 21 days after the onset of cough. Treatment with an appropriate antibiotic will shorten the infectious period to 5 days after the initiation of treatment if started early in the course of illness.

What can be done to prevent the spread of pertussis?

The cornerstone of pertussis prevention is immunization. Before age 7 and preferably at school entry, children should have received 5 doses of DTaP vaccine. Adolescents and adults in need of Td should receive TdaP in its place, and any adults who have close contact with an infant less than one year of age should receive Tdap.

Persons with pertussis should stay home and avoid close contact with others until completion of 5 days of a prescribed course of antibiotic treatment.
Persons with any coughing illness (or other contagious illness) should avoid contact with infants and expectant mothers.

Handwashing may prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including pertussis.
Caretakers of infants should take measures to limit the spread of contagious diseases, including pertussis, to infants in their care.


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