Whooping Cough On The Rise

Pertussis or Whooping Cough is on the rise in Texas and nationally. Pertussis is a serious, highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection that can cause serious complications and death in infants.

The Health District has had one reported case of Pertussis in Wichita County this year and there have been 383 cases reported statewide for 2012.

Initial Pertussis symptoms for older children and adults are similar to the common cold, with runny nose, sneezing and mild cough. After 1-2 weeks, the cough can then become more severe turning into coughing spasms.

Younger children's coughing spasms may be followed by a whooping sound and or vomiting. Infants may have little or no cough, but gag, gasp or have pauses in their breathing, causing them to turn blue.

Pertussis is spread through droplets from an infected person's cough or sneeze.

Pertussis can be prevented with vaccination. The Health District encourages everyone to be vaccinated according to the following schedule:

· The primary series is given as a DTaP at 2, 4, 6 and 12-18 months of age.

· A booster dose of DTaP should be given prior to school entry at 4-6 years of age.

· A booster dose of Tdap should be given prior to entering 7th grade.

· A Tdap is recommended for all teens and adults who have not previously received a dose of Tdap.

For questions regarding Pertussis or how to obtain a vaccination, please contact the Health District at (940) 761-6841.