Area sees 1st case of pertussis

By The Mercury

A whooping cough diagnosis involving a participant at a K-State basketball camp prompted authorities to caution parents of other camp participants about the disease Monday.

The child attended the Future Wildcat Day Camp, which took place from May 29 to June 1. The camp is for boys from kindergarten to 3rd grade.

Leslie Campbell, Pottawatomie County health director, said the child with whooping cough was from Pottawatomie County. She said out of the 55 camp participants, the initial child remains the only confirmed case.

Whooping cough, formally known as pertussis, is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person regardless of age. But it is considered most serious when infants are involved. It is spread through the air during talking, sneezing or coughing. Authorities say people should be alert for weeks-long prolonged coughing followed by a “whooping” sound.

Those with pertussis should be isolated from school, work or other activities until completing at least the first five days of the recommended antibiotic therapy.

Pertussis is on the rise in Kansas and several other states. As of Monday, there were 56 confirmed cases reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment; there were just 52 confirmed cases in all of 2011.

Campbell said concerned parents should check their child’s vaccine status. Many infants are routinely vaccinated for pertussis, and that vaccination will protect against possible infection. But if a person has never received a vaccination they can get the Tdap vaccine, which covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. The DTaP vaccine is recommended for children age 2 months through 6 years old.

“You never know when you’ll be exposed,” Campbell said. But she said the most common manner of exposure is to be within three feet of an infected person for at least an hour.

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