FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
Submitted by Dr. Christine Weyman
Medical Director for LCDHD
Cumberland County has experienced a whooping cough (Pertussis) outbreak. It is possible that other communities in the Lake Cumberland area may also see cases. Pertussis is a respiratory infection that is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Initially the symptoms are indistinguishable from the common cold, but later progress to a severe cough which can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Contact your health care provider if you have these symptoms so you can be tested and treated.
Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be particularly dangerous for women who are pregnant, newborn infants, and those less than 12 months old. People with pre-existing health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, chronic lung diseases, moderate to severe asthma, heart disease, or a weakened immune system are also at risk.
Household contacts and close contacts (face to face exposure within 3 feet) of pertussis cases should receive antibiotic prophylaxis. Children less than 6 months old are particularly susceptible to severe disease and should receive antibiotic prophylaxis as soon as possible after exposure.
Pertussis can be prevented by vaccination. Please make sure that your family is up to date for the pertussis vaccine (Tdap). All 4-5 year olds should have received 5 doses of DTaP. Neither pertussis infection nor immunization provides lifelong immunity, thus adolescents and adults require Tdap boosters. Pregnant women should also receive the vaccine during every pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborns.
Parents are encouraged to seek pertussis vaccinations for themselves and for their children at the Local Health Department, their medical provider, a local pharmacy, or other community sites where pertussis vaccine is available
For more information, contact Lake Cumberland District Health Department at 1-800-928-4416.