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Whooping cough cases increase, dozens being treated or investigated

April 13, 2012

A boy suffering from Whooping Cough. Photo/Wikimedia Commons

Several new cases of whooping cough cases in young children in the Mammoth/Crowley Lake area has been confirmed as of this morning, and the Mono County Health Department is also investigating and/or treating several dozen people who are suspected to have the disease, according to county health officials.
A total of about 100 people in the area have so far been affected by the disease in some fashion, whether they are caregivers, victims or included in the investigation.

Here's the latest details from the health department:

'According to Mono and Inyo County Health Officer Rick Johnston, as of this morning, the Mono County Health Department has received reports of a total of 11 laboratory confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough.

'In addition, in coordination with health care providers, we have been involved with investigation and treatment of 3 dozen persons who are suspected to have the disease. These persons have not been tested, but have been in close contact with someone who is a laboratory confirmed case. Close to 100 persons have now received preventive treatment, because they are not sick yet, but have been or are in close contact with high risk individuals, especially young infants, pregnant women, those who are immunocompromised, or those with chronic lung or neuromuscular disease.

'We must remember that this is only the tip of the iceberg, as whooping cough in many individuals is not distinguishable from any other respiratory infection or seasonal allergy in its early stages. Spring has sprung early, and so not only are there tulips coming up and migratory birds showing up, but the pollen counts have started to rise. Also, it is possible to get pertussis more than once, just like other bacteria (e.g. strept throat).

What should you be doing:
- If you are an adolescent or adult, and have not received a Tdap vaccine, you should do so as soon as possible. It does not matter when you had your last tetanus booster.Tdap shots are available through your health care provider, pharmacy, or health department. It is only given once, and does not have to be repeated. This is especially important:
o if you are a pregnant woman in the second or third trimester.
o If you have just delivered a baby and are still in the hospital.
o if you are a parent (moms – and dads!), sibling, aunt/uncle, grandparent (regardless of age), or other household contact of infants under one year of age.
o if you are a health care or child care worker.
- If you develop a respiratory illness, consult with your provider about the possible need for testing or treatment. In general, those with spasms of coughing (which may lead to choking or vomiting), and those with cough illnesses lasting more than 2 weeks, are most highly suspect. Highest priority to be evaluated is for those persons in close contact with small infants.

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