Thursday, February 09, 2012
Huron County Health Unit
Pertussis Case in Huron County
The Huron County Health Unit has confirmed a case of pertussis in a young child in Huron County.
Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough.” It is a disease that can spread very easily and can occur in people of all ages.
“Pertussis is most serious for young children, especially those under one year of age. In this age group pertussis can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and occasionally death. It can also seriously affect those people whose immune systems are not working well” says Public Health Nurse Shirley Chalmers.
This disease is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person’s saliva or mucous, such as by kissing or sharing drinking cups.
Most cases begin with symptoms similar to a cold. These can include: a runny nose, congestion, mild cough, sneezing or a fever. The cough will become worse after about a week and can last for weeks after that. During a coughing spell you may hear a “whooping” sound, especially in younger children. Younger children may also vomit after a coughing spell.
“It is important to seek medical care, especially if your child’s coughing is also affecting their breathing,” adds Chalmers.
Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics. These will not cure the cough but will prevent the spread of the disease to others.
The best way to prevent pertussis is to get immunized. Routine childhood vaccines include protection against pertussis and there is now a publicly funded vaccine for adults.
Chalmers says this case of pertussis is a good reminder to make sure your family’s immunizations are up to date. If you need immunizations you can arrange with your healthcare provider or call the Huron County Health Unit at 519-482-3416 or 1-877-837-6143.
Communications Co-ordinator, Huron County Health Unit
519-482-3416 or toll-free 1-877-837-6143