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Pertussis cases double on island

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is highly contagious among all age groups. The major symptom is fits of coughing with no fever.

Last week, approximately 11 cases of pertussis were reported on Whidbey Island.

As of Tuesday, at least 22 cases had been identified, mainly on Central Whidbey and South Whidbey, according to Island County Public Health Officer Roger Case, MD.

“If your child has cold symptoms or is coughing, please have them stay home and see a physician as soon as possible. Stop attending any camps, swim lessons, etc. Do not have any visitors or friends over to be exposed to you or your child. People are contagious with pertussis until they have completed a five day course of antibiotics,” said Case. This also applies to parents.

Once acquired, pertussis can last from six to 10 weeks. The infection consists of coughing fits that may result in vomiting.

Case said the possibility of contracting and spreading pertussis can be greatly reduced through vaccination included in the DTP, DTaP and Tdap vaccines.

Anyone above age 11 who has not received the Tdap vaccine is advised to get it. The Tdap booster should be received every 10 years by everyone above age 12. The DTP and DTaP vaccines are for children younger than 7 years old. They should receive five doses.

Preventative antibiotics are available for people who are in close contact with infected individuals.

Contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately if experiencing continuing cough symptoms to avoid spreading the disease. For more information, contact the Health Department at 679-7350.

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