Mount Airy News – Local officals keeping an eye out for whooping cough

by Symptom Advice on February 27, 2012

DOBSON — while Surry County hasn’t experienced a case of whooping cough since 2010, there have been reported cases in Virginia and area officials are on the alert.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is an endemic and a common disease in the United States, with periodic epidemics every three to five years and frequent outbreaks. in 2010, 27,550 cases of pertussis were reported and many more cases go unreported.

Theresa Hughes, the lead communicable disease nurse at the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, said Surry County’s last case of whooping cough happened in the summer of 201o.

“this is a highly contagious, respiration infection. The symptoms are runny nosy, sneezing, watery eyes, which later turn into a coughing attack that has a high pitched whoop at the end,” said Hughes.

The primary goal of pertussis outbreak control efforts is to decrease morbidity (amount of disease) and mortality (death) among infants; a secondary goal is to decrease morbidity among persons of all ages.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis. Confirmed pertussis cases among children in 2012 have occurred in a number of states including New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The CDC said the recommended pertussis vaccine for children is called DTaP. this is a safe and effective combination vaccine that protects children against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. for maximum protection against pertussis, children need five DTaP shots. The first three shots are given at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. The fourth shot is given at 15 through 18 months of age, and a fifth shot is given when a child enters school, at 4 through 6 years of age. If a 7-10 year old is not up-to-date with DTaP vaccines, a dose of Tdap should be given before the 11-12 year old check up.

After someone is diagnosed, it’s recommended that they rest at home for at least five days.

Verona Danley, the communicable disease nurse for the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, said the best treatment for the whooping cough is the antibiotic Azithromycin.

“get to your doctor early. get treatment,” said Danley.

According to state communicable disease branch, there were 126 cases of whooping cough in North Carolina in 2011. there were 343 cases in 2010.

Hughes said the disease may be on the rise because vaccinations wane over time and need to be updated. after getting the vaccine, the patient has a better chance of catching the disease because they have not reached full immunity from vaccine.

It is recommended that all adults get a one-time booster dose. Hughes said adults especially need the vaccine if they are going to be around infants 12 months or younger.

The adult whooping cough vaccine is available. It is important for new and expecting parents, as well as all adults who will be around newborns and for babies to get the vaccine. The Surry County Health and Nutrition Center offers the adult vaccines for $64.80. Some insurance plans cover the vaccines, but most do not, said Marion. Medicare does not cover the cost of the vaccine.

Hughes said once a patient is diagnosed with whooping cough, antibiotics are prescribed, so that the person will be less infectious to other people.

“The ‘whoop’ last for about two weeks, but at doesn’t mean infectious,” said Hughes.

Reach Mondee Tilley at or at 719-1930.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: