Whooping Cough in Redfield
By: Kayla Understock
Redfield School had two confirmed cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in the middle school/high school. The two students have been treated and are back in school. Redfield School canceled all activities for the remainder of the week last week as a precaution. In the Doland School District, there is a family being treated due to exposure to Pertussis, however, there are currently no confirmed cases in Doland at this time. Administration at the Redfield School stated that after being in contact with the Department of Health, the things that were stressed most to them were hand washing and staying hydrated.
Since the beginning of 2018, the Department of Health has had 90 cases of pertussis reported making it the highest number reported since 2014, at which time the state saw 109 cases. Counties with the highest number of reported cases include Edmunds at 19, Brown at 15, Minnehaha at 13, and Hughes at 12. “Pertussis is a very serious illness so it is important to take precautions like ensuring you and your children are current with all recommended vaccines,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the department.
Spread from person to person through the air by means of an infected person coughing, pertussis is highly contagious. Symptoms of pertussis usually appear within 5 to 10 days of exposure but may take as long as 3 weeks to be seen. Early symptoms mimic the common cold with sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough. The cough will become more severe within a two-week period. Episodes of numerous rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched whoop are seen in cases of pertussis. This is also how it got the name “whooping cough”. Thick, clear mucus may be discharged following the cough and episodes may reoccur for one to two months with them being more frequent at night.
Pertussis affects people of all ages. It is most severe in babies less than 6 months of age and the elderly. The most effective prevention is to maintain the highest possible level of immunization. Vaccines are administered at 2, 4, 6 and 15 months of age and again between 4-6 years old. However, immunity will decrease over time so a booster dose is recommended for adolescents 11-12 years of age as well as for adults. Antibiotic treatment shortens the period of being contagious to others. Those who have been in contact with an infected person should visit with their doctor to be evaluated. Those who are at a high risk and should receive antibiotics after exposure include household contacts, infants, pregnant women in their third trimester, and anyone with pre-existing health conditions. As with all illnesses, remember to wash your hands often, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, and do not share anything with others.