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Pertussis Cases for 2015 Already Surpass Last Year's Total

 


The number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases in Tulare County has already exceeded the number of cases that were reported for all of 2014. The disease is most dangerous to infants, but seniors are at risk of complications.

Pertussis is a contagious illness that is spread by coughing. It starts with a runny nose and progresses to a more significant cough with a whoop sound after coughing. Vomiting after coughing can also occur. People with pertussis have coughing spells that can last for months.

Although older children and adults may develop symptoms resembling a cold, infants can have serious illness with difficulty breathing. Though immunized individuals may still sometimes get pertussis, vaccination is the best protection available against getting pertussis.

“It's good for anybody to get the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine,” said Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County public health officer. “Every adult should have that vaccine once,” adding that booster shots are advised because “immunity wanes.”

Pertussis can also cause people to pass out and it can also result in cracked ribs, which “would make it more of a risk for seniors.” She cautioned that seniors also face the potential of “loss of bladder control or broken blood vessels.”

The worst year for pertussis in Tulare County was 2010 when there were 230 cases (but no resulting deaths), according to Haught. “There are 63 cases so far.”

If you think that you may have symptoms of pertussis, contact your medical provider or local clinic. If you have any questions or concerns regarding pertussis, call the Tulare County Communicable Disease Control Office at (559) 685-5720.

For information about the vaccination, contact your healthcare provider or local health clinic. You can also call the Tulare County Immunization Office at (559) 685-5725, where Tdap vaccines are available at no cost in limited amounts and for a limited time for family members of infants.

 

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