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Grant County investigates pertussis outbreak | Health

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Grant County investigates pertussis outbreak
Health, News
Grant County investigates pertussis outbreak

The Grant County Health District is investigating three confirmed cases of whooping cough (pertussis) and another 210 who may have been exposed to infected individuals.

The outbreak has been contained to migrant farm workers near Mattawa and Quincy, and so far no one has been hospitalized.

“Because a large number of exposed and ill individuals in a very well-defined area, we are considering this a local outbreak,” said Grant County Health Officer Alexander Brzezny.

In an effort to control the spread of the disease, GCHD distributed antibiotics for all 210 individuals who came in close contact with the ill individuals. The pertussis (Tdap) shot is also being offered to all the workers to reduce a chance of future infection.

“The farm where the workers are being housed and the Mattawa Community Clinic have been extremely cooperative and responsive,” said GCHD Administrator Jeff Ketchel. All 210 individuals are being asked about where they have visited or worked in the past to decide if additional people should receive antibiotics.

Pertussis has become a common disease in the United States, with peaks in disease every 3 to 5 years and frequent outbreaks. In 2012, 48,277 cases of pertussis were reported — and many more cases go unreported.

In Grant County, there were 56 cases of pertussis in 2013 and 11 cases so far in 2014.

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one-to-two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes ends with a whooping sound.

Grant County Health Officer reminds residents:

  • Pertussis “whooping cough” is a vaccine preventable disease.
  • Children may need up to five Tdap shots between two months of age and when they start school.
  • Tdap shot is required for 6th grade school entry.
  • Tdap is recommended for children 7-10 years old who are unvaccinated or under vaccinated for pertussis.
  • Tdap shot is recommended for all adults who are not up to date and do not have contraindication to vaccine.
  • Because immunity from pertussis shot or disease wears off, family members and caregivers of infants should make sure they are up to date with their pertussis vaccination.
  • All pregnant women should get another Tdap vaccine at 27 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, regardless of prior vaccine.
  • To protect the babies, other family members should get the Tdap booster as soon as possible.
  • All healthcare workers and childcare providers should be fully immunized for pertussis.  
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