Riley County Health officials announced Friday that there is a fourth and fifth probable case of pertussis, or whooping cough, in Riley County. This comes on the heels of officials reporting a third probable case of whooping cough on Thursday afternoon.
Kufahl is asking the public to get vaccinated against the disease.
Kufahl said immunization is recommended at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months of age, with a booster at the start of kindergarten. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that people 11 through 64 years of age receive the Tdap vaccine, for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, while people over 64 years old should be vaccinated if they are in close contact with infants.
Pertussis is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person and can occur among any person, regardless of age, Kufahl said. The disease is spread through the air during talking, sneezing or coughing and can be a very serious illness, particularly for young infants, she said.
Health officials explained the symptoms of pertussis. During the first one to two weeks, a person 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 often feels well and the coughing spells may continue for several weeks or months. Adults and children, 7 years of age and older, may only have a prolonged cough.
Officials ask that anyone with unexplained acute cough illness or anyone who has had close contact with someone who has pertussis to contact their health providers. Early diagnosis and treatment could shorten the contagious period, they said.
They advised that parents keep infants, especially those younger than six months, away from anyone with pertussis as they are more likely to experience a severe illness.
For more information on pertussis or to get vaccinated, contact the Riley County Health Department at 785-776-4779, ext. 134, or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317.