Hill County has two more confirmed cases of pertussis, a bacterial infection also known as whooping cough.
The Hill County Health Department is working closely with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and Havre Public Schools to ensure the cases are evaluated and treated.
These two cases, a child and adult, follow one other confirmed case of pertussis earlier this year in Hill County.
Pertussis is a contagious respiratory disease that in almost all cases can be effectively treated if identified early. The disease is most serious and most likely to develop in very young infants, especially those under the age of 6 months.
Infants should be kept away from anyone diagnosed with pertussis or identified as being in close contact with someone with the disease.
Infants with any coughing illness should be promptly evaluated by their doctor.
Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over a few weeks. Symptoms include a long coughing fit, followed by a whooping noise.
However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop.
Coughing fits may also be followed by vomiting or turning blue. There is generally no fever.
The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider or the Hill County Health Department.
The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination, available for people over the age of 6 weeks, which is included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended routine childhood immunization schedule.
No vaccine is 100 percent effective and no community is 100 percent vaccinated. However, vaccines are the most effective tool to reduce transmission of pertussis and that even immunized children who get sick tend to have less severe symptoms than children who are not immunized.
The Hill County Health Department has vaccinations available for both children and adults. To set up an appointment call 265-5481, ext. 266.
Additional information related to pertussis can be found on the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/.