OREGON COUNTY -- The Oregon County Health Department is investigating two cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in Oregon County that have been confirmed through laboratory testing.
"The best way to prevent the spread of whooping cough is for parents to recognize the symptoms and keep their children home from school or daycare and contact their healthcare provider," said Oregon County Health Department Administrator Sheila Russell.
"Pertussis is most commonly spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets of someone who is infected," Russell said.
The early symptoms of whopping cough resembles those of a common cold and cough. The cough gets worse over one or two weeks and usually develops into a long series of coughs followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop.
The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not stop the cough. Pertussis affects people of all ages but is more serious in infants under the age of one. Children with symptoms should be kept at home from school until they have completed five days of antibiotics.
The local health department will be increasing their disease surveillance over the next few weeks in order to identify possible unreported cases in the county. The best way to reduce the instances of pertussis is to have a highly vaccinated population.
Russell said this can be accomplished through physicians' offices and public health clinics.
"Five doses of DTaP at ages 2, 4, 6 and 12-18- months and 4-6 years are recommended. The vaccine is not given to people 7 years old or older. A new booster vaccine called Tdap, is now available for adolescents and adults to extend protection against whooping cough. It is recommended that adolescents and adults get a Tdap vaccine in place of the previously recommended tetanus and diphtheria (Td) boosters, especially anyone in contact with an infant under 12-months of age," Russell said.
For more information call the health department at 417-778-7454.