Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Whooping cough diagnosed in Big Sandy


Chouteau County Health Department posted a letter on its Facebook page today reporting that a person from Big Sandy recently was diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

"The Chouteau County Health Department is working to identify close contacts, and ensure their evaluation and treatment," the letter said. "Unvaccinated close contacts or close contacts with symptoms need to be treated in order to lessen further spread of this disease."

The Health Department is following the Centers for Disease Control and Montana Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for pertussis follow-up, the letter said. Although pertussis is a contagious disease that is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, transmission is dependent on the closeness and length of contact. Mass treatment is not recommended or indicated at this time.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs ("coughing fit") followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. There is generally no fever. People with pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough.

Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs - a coughing fit - followed by a whooping noise. Older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop.

People with these symptoms are urged to see their health care provider as soon as possible.

Pertussis can be very dangerous for infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies younger than 1 year old. Infants younger than 1, and particularly younger than 6 months, are most likely to experience severe illness if they develop pertussis, the letter said. Infants should be kept away from people who may have been exposed to pertussis. Infants with any coughing illness should be taken to the doctor quickly.

The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination, the letter said. Pertussis vaccine is available for persons over the age of 6 weeks, and is included in the CDC's recommended routine childhood immunization schedule.

More about pertussis can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website: http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/.


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