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Pertussis on the Rise

Local public health officials have confirmed an outbreak of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in the Barren River area.  Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis.

All age groups are susceptible to pertussis. It most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than one year of age. If your child has been vaccinated against pertussis, then he or she could still get pertussis, but with less severe symptoms.  The main symptoms of pertussis are; a cough that lasts for weeks or months and coughing fits.

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) is to make sure infants and children are up-to-date on their immunizations. Pregnant women and anyone who will be around babies should be vaccinated, as infants often get pertussis from a family member. Because immunity can wane, anyone 11 years and older need a single booster dose of Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine. Other measures of prevention are to practice good cough etiquette and keep infants and anyone at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people. Those at high risk are pregnant women, infants less than one year of age, anyone with lung or heart conditions and those who have weakened immune systems.

At this time, with pertussis circulating in our community, we ask that you pay special attention to the health of your children, yourself, and your family. People with pertussis are contagious and need to contact their healthcare provider for appropriate testing and treatment.



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