The Riley County Health Department will work with local childcare and pre-school programs to provide pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccinations.
Susie Kufahl, county health department director, updated county commissioners on the whooping cough situation Monday. Last week, Kufahl told commissioners that eight people had exhibited symptoms of the disease, although test results we not immediately available.
Kufahl, said as of Monday morning, the health department has investigated 13 cases. She noted that five of those cases had been confirmed as pertussis, while four cases were probable. The health department concluded that the remaining cases were not pertussis.
Pertussis is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person through the air by talking, sneezing or coughing. Health officials have said people should be vigilant for weeks-long prolonged coughing followed by a “whooping” sound.
However, Kufahl said there are still concerns in the community. She said the county has been working with childcare and pre-school programs because young children are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
“We had one-on-one conversations with all of the childcare and pre-school programs in the community,” Kufahl said. “We are operating and setting up with them to do on-site clinics.
As of Monday morning, four local programs had signed up for clinics. “I think this does represent a very good and strong response from childhood professionals,” she said.
Health officials have been advising people to get the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diptheria and pertussis.
“One of the things that we’ve really tried to work with is to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Kufahl said.
She said it’s best way to prevent the spread of the disease, especially to infants who are most at risk.