SAS student treated for pertussis:
View a letter from the Department of Health
January 4, 2012
- A student in Scotchtown Avenue Elementary School has
been treated for confirmed pertussis (whooping cough). Antibiotics given
early in the infection may reduce symptoms and does shorten the period
Pertussis begins as a mild respiratory infection.
Symptoms resemble those of a common cold with sneezing, runny nose,
low-grade fever and mild cough. Within two weeks, the cough becomes more
severe and is characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs
followed by a crowning or high-pitched whoop. A thick, clear mucous may
be discharged. If your child has any of these symptoms, please
consider a physician's evaluation. Emphasis on hand washing and
disposable tissues may also help prevent contagion.
While pertussis can occur at any age, the risk of
symptomatic infection in appropriately immunized persons is low.
The main danger of pertussis is to infants up
to one year. Do not allow anyone with an active cough near very young
children, particularly babies. Anyone with a persistent cough (all ages)
should be evaluated for pertussis.
If you have any questions, you may call the Health
Department at 291-2330.
Jean M. Hudson, M.D., M.P.H.
FACTS ABOUT PERTUSSIS (WHOOPING COUGH)
What is pertussis?
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease involving
the respiratory tract. It is caused by a bacterium that is found in the
mouth, nose and throat of an infected person.
Who gets pertussis?
Pertussis can occur at any age. Pertussis is increasing in
teenagers and adults.
How is pertussis spread?
Pertussis is primarily spread by direct contact with discharges
from the nose and throat of persons with whooping cough.
What are symptoms of
Pertussis starts like a common cold,
including sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and
a mild cough. Within two weeks, the cough
becomes more severe. Rapid coughs
can be followed by a crowning or high-pitched
whoop. The cough is more frequent at night.
When and for how long is a
person able to spread pertussis?
A person can spread pertussis from the time of the first cough
to three weeks after the cough has started.
What is the vaccine for
The vaccine for pertussis is usually given in combination with diptheria
and tetanus. Immunization authorities recommend DTaP (diptheria,
tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine be given at 2, 4, 6 and 15-18
months of age and between 4 and 6 years of age. Tdap is now recommended
for 11-18 year olds as a one time booster dose.
Can pertussis be treated?
1. If you have a harsh, rapid cough, see your doctor or clinic.
2. Treatment with antibiotics for five days can prevent spreading the
infection to others.