Sunday, October 2, 2011

Doctors warn of jump in whooping cough cases in Snohomish County, Washington - 1st Oct 2011

Snohomish County families need to watch for whooping cough.

As of this week, 85 cases of the highly contagious bacterial infection have been recorded in the county, Snohomish Health District officials said.

In comparison, 25 confirmed cases were registered in the entire county last year, said health district spokeswoman Suzanne Pate.

"This is the time to be sure that your children are immunized," she said.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, starts out like a regular cold and progresses to include fits of severe cough followed by a whooping sound and vomiting.

The illness is dangerous for infants and small children. Just more than a month ago, a weeks-old infant in east Snohomish County died of whooping cough.

Infants under 2 months old are especially at risk because they are too young to get the DTaP vaccine, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Read More

Early symptoms

The early symptoms of whooping cough are often similar to those of a common cold and may include:

  • runny or blocked nose
  • sneezing
  • watering eyes
  • dry, irritating cough
  • sore throat
  • slightly raised temperature
  • feeling generally unwell
  • Paroxysmal symptoms
The second stage of whooping cough is often called the paroxysmal stage and is characterized by intense bouts of coughing. The bouts are sometimes referred to as 'paroxysms' of coughing.
  • The paroxysmal symptoms of whooping cough may include:
  • intense bouts of coughing, which bring up thick phlegm
  • a 'whoop' sound with each sharp intake of breath after coughing (although this may not occur in infants and young children, see below)
  • vomiting after coughing, especially in infants and young children
  • fatigue (tiredness) and redness in the face from the effort of coughing