Ringgold County Public Health has confirmed 2 cases of pertussis or whooping cough within the county.  Pertussis is a bacterial disease that causes severe spells of coughing.  It can occur at any age, but it is most common in infants less than a year of age.  Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and sometimes death.  Pertussis can be difficult to diagnosis in teens and adults because their symptoms often look like a cold with a nagging cough.  Those who are vaccinated or have a history of pertussis may have milder symptoms.

Pertussis is treated with an appropriate antibiotic if given early in the illness.  After 5 days of antibiotics, an infected person can no longer spread the disease.  It is also considered no longer contagious if the individual infected with pertussis has been coughing for 3 weeks or longer.

Pertussis may be prevented through routine immunizations.  “Cases like this that occur in an unvaccinated population remind us of the importance of routine childhood and adult vaccinations,” states Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN, Ringgold County Public Health Nurse Administrator.  Vaccination can be given as soon as 6-8 weeks of age.  “Medical care providers are encouraging any family members/friends/daycare providers who will be around a newborn baby to check their immunization status to make sure they have received proper vaccinations.  It’s our best way to protect these precious ones,” states Fletchall.

Contact Becky Fletchall, RN, BSN at Ringgold County Public Health for additional information.

119 South Fillmore St.

Mount Ayr, IA  50854

Phone 641-464-0691

bfletchall@rcph.net