The Riley County Health Department is reporting a case of pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, affecting an infant in the county. KMAN news has also been told of a suspected case of pertussis at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary in Manhattan. USD 383 Communications Coordinator Michele Jones indicates letters were sent home with all students Wednesday.
“When pertussis shows up in an infant less than one year of age, it can be a warning sign or a marker of undetected disease in the community,” explained Susanne Kufahl, Riley County Health officer.
Kufahl added it is critical that children, as well as their parents and caregivers, get vaccinated for pertussis to prevent this difficult and highly contagious illness, which can be easily spread to other family members and community members.
“This should help reduce the number of cases in children who are too young to be fully vaccinated,” Kuhfal said.
The single most effective control measure is immunization of the most vulnerable population against pertussis..
Whooping cough is a bacterial disease that is easily transmitted from person to person. It spread through the air during talking, sneezing or coughing. It can be a very serious illness, especially for young infants. Although whooping cough is often thought of as a childhood disease, whooping cough can occur among persons of any age.
Anyone with an unexplained acute cough illness or who has had close contact to a person with whooping cough should contact their health care provider. Early diagnosis and treatment can shorten the contagious period. Antibiotics should be given to all household and other close contacts to prevent the spread of the disease.
For more information on whooping cough or to get vaccinated, contact the Riley County Health Department at 776-4779, ext 134 or the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at 1-877-427-7317.