Pertussis On The Rise

Pertussis is on the rise both in Texas and nationally.  Pertussis (whooping cough) is a serious, highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection that can cause serious complications and death in infants.

We have had 6 reported cases of Pertussis in Wichita County this year. This is a notable increase and numbers higher than expected for our area.  There have been 1,099 cases and 5 deaths reported State-wide for 2012; which surpasses the 961 cases reported for the entire year in 2011.

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 (apnea) 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 that have not previously received a dose of Tdap.

If you have any questions regarding Pertussis or how to obtain the vaccine, please contact the Health District at (940) 761-6841.