Sonora, CA – Tuolumne County Health Officer Liza Ortiz reports laboratory results have confirmed one case of pertussis (whooping cough) and another case is being investigated in the county.
The second case is a person who had close contact with the first patient, according to Ortiz, who adds both patients and their close contacts are being treated at home. The ages and names of the patients have not been released, but they are students.
County health officials report parents of students are being notified to watch for whooping cough symptoms and to check that their children’s vaccinations are up to date. The name of the school involved has not been identified.
Ortiz’s office reports there are three stages for the illness and released this list of symptoms:
Illness often starts with a period of stuffy nose, mild cough and occasionally a fever, followed by the second phase in which a severe, dry, hacking cough develops and lasts two to six weeks. This cough can lead to a gasping noise known as the “whoop” and may even result in vomiting, although such symptoms may be absent (particularly in fully vaccinated people). In the third phase of the illness, the cough slowly subsides over weeks or even months. To prevent being infected, all students should receive four doses of “DTaP” vaccine before two years of age, a booster dose before kindergarten and another booster “Tdap” vaccine before 7th grade.
Ortiz also stresses to prevent passing whooping cough people should always cover their mouths with a bent elbow and wash their hands regularly. Health officials warn vaccination does not mean a person will not contract the illness. Those most vulnerable to Pertussis are infants under one year of age, pregnant mothers, and children with chronic respiratory illness.