Teton County Public Health reports significant increase in Whooping Cough

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Today, Teton County Public Health announced that there have been eight cases of Pertussis (also known as Whooping Cough) confirmed in Teton County so far in 2015. Teton County has had a significant increase in cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) this fall. The total number of confirmed Pertussis cases in Teton County is eight for the year to date, which represents one-third of all cases in the State of Wyoming for 2015. The cases in Teton County have been in both vaccinated and unvaccinated children and adults. The actual number of cases is likely higher because upper respiratory illnesses may not be recognized as Pertussis. Whooping Cough is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person. It spreads through the air during talking, sneezing, or coughing. It can be a very serious illness, especially for young infants. During the first one to two weeks, persons with Whooping Cough may only experience a runny nose and non-productive cough, similar to a cold. Young children may have more serious coughing fits, often followed by a whooping sound as they try to catch their breath. After coughing, a person may have difficulty catching their breath, vomit, or become blue in the face from lack of air. Between fits, the person often feels well. Coughing spells may continue for several weeks or months. Adults and children seven years of age and older who get Whooping Cough may have only a prolonged cough. Although Whooping Cough is often thought of as a childhood disease, it can occur among persons of any age. Protection from vaccination wears off over time, so school-aged children, adolescents, and adults can introduce Whooping Cough into households where there are preschool-age children and infants who are not protected. Anyone with an unexplained acute cough illness or who has had close contact to a person with Whooping Cough should contact their health care provider. Early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the contagious period. Teton County Public Health encourages all residents to check with their healthcare providers to make sure they are up to date on their Pertussis vaccine and boosters to help protect vulnerable residents, especially infants. “Vaccines are the most effective tool we have to protect against Pertussis. Therefore, it is important for all residents to get the recommended vaccinations to keep our community immunity (or herd immunity) strong.” said Teton County Health Officer, Dr. Travis Riddell. In a statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, herd immunity is described as a situation where through vaccination and prior illness a sufficient proportion of the population is immune to an infectious disease, making its spread from person to person unlikely. Due to this, people who are ineligible for vaccinations, such as infants, are protected because the disease is unable to spread among the community. Unfortunately, unlike the natural immunity that develops when a person has had a number of other infectious diseases, a person does not develop immunity from having had Pertussis in the past. Since we are also at the beginning of flu season, Teton County Public Health would like to remind everyone to: - Cover your cough and sneeze: sneeze and cough into your elbow to limit the spread of disease. - Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water. - Stay home when you are ill to contain your germs. - Report signs and symptoms of illnesses that do not go away within 3-5 days to your healthcare provider. If you have questions about Pertussis please call Teton County Public Health at 307-733-6401. *Feature Photo: h/t / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news