The Recent Outbreak of Whooping Cough—What You Should Know

The Recent Outbreak of Whooping Cough—What You Should Know

The contagious bacterial infection known as whooping cough or pertussis recently made headlines, when the Plano Independent School District released a warning about this disease. According to their statement, two students at Clark High School in the Texas town were confirmed as having this highly-contagious infection. Multiple students in Keller ISA were also reported as having pertussis, as this highly contagious disease continues to impact students from preschool to high school, throughout the area.

Whooping cough may start presenting with cold-like symptoms, but eventually, it transforms into a long-lasting cough that makes breathing a challenge. The name whooping cough comes from the deep whooping sound that people with this condition make when gasping for air. As a parent, it is essential to have a general understanding of whooping cough, and some basic facts about this disease.

Fact: You can get vaccinated against whooping cough.

There is a whooping cough for vaccines. In babies and children, it is recommended that kids get five DTaP shots. These shots are given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years old. There are also vaccines available for preteens, adults and pregnant women known as TDAP. As more and more American teens and adults started spreading this disease to babies, a pertussis component was added to the standard tetanus shot years ago to ensure that adults had the immunization to fight off this disease.infe

Fact: Whooping cough is still very common.

Even with the vaccinations, there are often reported cases of whooping cough every year. There have been around 10,000 to 40,000 reported cases of whooping cough each year. Outbreaks are most common in daycare centers and schools.

Fact: Coughing from this infection can last a long time.

Whooping cough is also often known as the 100-day cough, because it can last for up to 10 weeks or more. The coughing fits associated with this condition can be difficult to get rid of.

Fact: Whooping cough is a worldwide issue.

According to the CDC, whooping cough is a worldwide issue and there are an estimated 24.1 million cases of whooping cough reported around the world per year.

Fact: There are ways to treat whooping cough.

Clinicians typically treat whooping cough with antibiotics. These are used to not only control symptoms but to help prevent the condition from spreading. Since this condition is so infectious, some doctors may prescribe preventative antibiotics to those living in the same household as someone with whooping cough.

Fact: Whooping cough is one of the most highly contagious infectious diseases.

Whooping cough has an incubation period of between 5 and 21 days. After this, it becomes very contagious, similar to measles. This infection is spread through bacteria-infected droplets that travel in the infected person’s breath. So, when someone coughs or sneezes other may inhale these infectious bacteria droplets and contract the condition.

Fact: Whooping cough can be deadly.

Unfortunately, whooping cough can be lethal, especially in babies. In some, more severe cases, babies with whooping cough can have seizures, stop breathing, develop pneumonia or suffer from brain damage. While most deaths from whooping cough occur in developing countries, according to the CDC, this condition killed 20 Americans in 2012.

Whooping cough is a very serious and at times misunderstood condition. If you have more questions on whooping cough, getting tested for or treating this infection, or on getting the whooping cough vaccine, visit the experts at Continuum Internal Medicine and Pediatrics today.