TOPEKA, Kan. -- Many communities in Northeast Kansas have seen an increase in the number of pertussis cases, also known as whooping cough, since the start of the year. While there have not been any confirmed cases in Shawnee County this year, Shawnee County Health Agency (SCHA) urges residents to be vaccinated and take other steps to stop the spread of pertussis.
“Pertussis and other infectious diseases do not stop at county or city borders. Shawnee County citizens should protect themselves and their children now.”, said Dr. Gianfranco Pezzino, Shawnee County Health Officer.
Individuals can receive the vaccine to protect against pertussis at the SCHA immunization department, located at 1615 SW 8th Ave., during regular business hours. No appointment is needed. The pertussis vaccine is given in combination with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines,
called DTaP, and is recommended for children age 2 months through 6 years old. A Pertussis vaccine for adolescents and adults, called Tdap, is recommended as a one-time booster.
Anyone who cares for an infant younger than six months old is strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. Pertussis is a very contagious disease, caused by bacteria. It can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults. The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or
congestion, sneezing, and maybe mild cough or fever. But after 1–2 weeks, severe coughing can begin.
Pertussis can cause coughing fits that continue for weeks, with violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. In adults, the whooping sound may not be present. In young infants, the cough can be
minimal or not even there.
For more information on pertussis, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/