As of April 16, the Mono County Health Department had received reports of a total of 11 laboratory confirmed cases of pertussis, or whooping cough. In addition, in coordination with health care providers, the department has been involved with investigation and treatment of three 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.
The department warns 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).
If you are an adolescent or adult, and have not received a Tdap vaccine, you should do so as soon as possible, according to the department. 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:
- if you are a pregnant woman in the second or third trimester.
- If you have just delivered a baby and are still in the hospital.
- 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.
- 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 two weeks, are most highly suspect. Highest priority to be evaluated is for those persons in close contact with small infants. –Press Release