Whooping cough cases on the rise in Carteret County

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Whooping cough cases are on the rise in Carteret County, according to a news release send out by the Carteret County Department of Health Services Monday.

Health officials with the department said they noticed higher than usual numbers of pertussis, or whooping cough, in school-aged children since January.

As part of the release, the Health Department included information on whooping cough symptoms and ways to avoid getting ill, which are provided below:

Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” Background

 Pertussis (“whooping cough”) is a highly contagious, but preventable bacterial infection that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing lasting up to 10 weeks. The disease does not only affect children; adults can develop “whooping cough” and often are not diagnosed until later in the illness. 

Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” Symptoms 

Symptoms can include: severe fits of coughing, including rapid coughs followed by a highpitched, “whoop” sound; coughing fits followed by vomiting; exhaustion after coughing fits, apnea (temporarily-stopped breathing usually in infants). Symptoms can vary by individuals. Contact your doctor if you suspect yourself or your child are experiencing pertussis symptoms. 

Pertussis or “Whooping Cough” Prevention 

Everyone needs protection from pertussis. Children under 7 years of age should receive five doses of DTaP. DTaP is a vaccine series that helps children younger than age 7 develop immunity against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. It is recommended that the DTaP series begin at 2 months of age, and continue at 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years of age. 

The Tdap vaccine is what is given to older children and adults. Children 7 through 10 years of age should receive one dose of Tdap if they were not fully vaccinated with DTaP. Adolescents through age 18 should receive one dose of Tdap; preferably at 11 through 12 years of age. Everyone 19 years of age or older should receive one dose of Tdap. 

The Tdap vaccine is highly recommended for the following populations:

 • Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant; 
• Anyone who has close contact with infants under 12 months of age (parents, siblings, grandparents, household contacts, child care providers); and 
• Anyone with a pre-existing, chronic respiratory disease.

Form more information on vaccination you can contact the health department at at (252) 728-8550 or visit: http://www.immunize.nc.gov/family/vaccines/pertussis.htm

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