Whooping Cough Outbreaks and Epidemics: Pertussis 2012 Update

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Pertussis causes coughing spasms that can make it difficult to breathe and may cause the patient to vomit. Photo by CDC

Whooping Cough: Getting Treated

People with the first signs of symptoms (low grade fever, runny nose, sneezing) should be treated with an antibiotic for pertussis.

People are contagious from the point when they show the first signs and symptoms, until they have been on an effective medication for five days.

During this time, those infected with whooping cough should stay home from work and school.

Coughing: Reporting Pertussis

Each state has its own laws on how diseases should be reported.

These laws and regulations describe the diseases that should be reported, and who is responsible for reporting. In the case of pertussis, the state health department reports all probable and confirmed cases to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

This system collects information from across the United States to help to detect and track outbreaks.

Whooping Cough: Are You At Risk?

Although pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease, you can still acquire the disease even if you have been vaccinated. Your chances of contracting the disease are lower than someone who hasn’t been vaccinated, but you can still get sick. Other than being vaccinated, the next best way to prevent getting sick is to wash your hands often and thoroughly.

Resources:

Minnesota Health Department. Pertussis Disease Statistics, 2012. (2012). Accessed November 16, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis Outbreaks. (2012). Accessed November 16, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. (2012). Accessed November 16, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis Frequently Asked Questions. (2012).  Accessed November 16, 2012.

Arkansas Department of Health. ADH Investigating Whooping Cough at Clinton Intermediate School. (2012). Accessed November 16, 2012.

Washington State Department of Health. Pertussis Epidemic 2012. (2012). Accessed November 16, 2012.

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