The number of Riley Countians being treated for symptoms of pertussis, or whooping cough, continues to grow.
Susie Kufahl, county health department director, told county commissioners on Monday that eight people have exhibited symptoms of the disease. That’s up from the five probable cases of pertussis reported Friday.
Kufahl said the cases haven’t been confirmed because the test results take a while. “I would caution us not to get too caught up in determining whether the cases are confirmed or suspect,” she said.
Pertussis is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person, regardless of age. It’s spread through the air during talking, sneezing or coughing. Kufahl said it can be very serious illness for infants.
She said health officials are treating those with symptoms like they have the disease. She said people should be alert for weeks-long prolonged coughing followed by a “whooping” sound.
Health officials are advising people to get the Tdap vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, especially if they are pregnant or a child care provider.
Kufahl said the Tdap vaccine is a newer shot, first done in 2005, and it’s recommended that people get the newer vaccination even if they received a previous shot for pertussis. She said the shot is a one-time thing, and there’s no risk to getting another shot.
For more information on pertussis or to get vaccinated, contact the Riley County Health Department at 776-4779 ext. 134 or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317.
Commissioners were told that some residents needing help with their income taxes can receive free assistance at the Manhattan Public Library, which is available regularly each week through March 29. Appointments can be made through the end of tax season.
Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 and Saturday, Feb. 11.
The site is for people with household earnings of $50,000 a year or less who will be filing a simple IRS 1040 tax return. All of the volunteers are certified by the IRS, said Jennifer Wilson, county extension director.
The UFM Community Learning Center will have sign-ups for the new Collins Lane Community Garden in February. Sign-ups will occur at 7 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, both at UFM, 1221 Thurston.
The garden, located at 1435 Collins Lane on Hunter’s Island, will be a new location to go along with the continuing Riley Lane location. Garden plots are available for anyone in Riley County.
The plan is to have 72 plots ready this year with another 72 plots in development. More information on the Manhattan Community Garden can be found at tryufm.org or by calling UFM at 593-8763.
Fireplace ash disposal
Doug Messer, assistant county fire chief, spoke to county commissioners of proper disposal of fireplace ashes. Messer said ashes should be placed in a metal can with a lid. He said the can should be placed away from the home in a low-combustible area to sit for about a week.
“Those embers can stay active for four to five days,” he said. After that, Messer said wet the ashes when they are being disposed.