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58 cases of whooping cough confirmed in Chelan and Douglas counties

The Wenatchee World - 3/26/2024

Mar. 26—EAST WENATCHEEThe Chelan-Douglas Health District has confirmed nearly 60 cases of whooping cough.

The health district confirmed its first case of the outbreak on Feb. 14 at a local school but declined to disclose which schools the outbreak was circulating in.

In early March, the health district received laboratory confirmation of a case of pertussis with no link to other known cases which implies the pertussis is circulating more broadly throughout the community, according to a March news release.

The health district in a news release Monday updated the count with 58 cases confirmed with a positive lab result or with clinical symptoms consistent with pertussis and exposure to a lab-confirmed case.

Pertussis is a respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordella pertussis also known as whooping cough. It spreads "very easily" through coughing and sneezing. People vaccinated for whooping cough may have milder symptoms but can still contract and transmit pertussis.

Complications of pertussis include pneumonia, syncope (passing out), seizures, apnea (stopping breathing) and death with the most severe complications most common in infants. Half of infected infants require hospitalization, according to the news release.

The most effective preventive measure against pertussis infection, transmission and complications is routine vaccination.

Other symptoms that should prompt a healthcare visit include:

* Any respiratory symptoms with a cough greater than two weeks duration that is paroxysmal, or includes an inspiratory whoop/gasping or has post-tussive gagging/emesis or is worse at night.

* Contact with a person with pertussis.

* Any conditions which put the person at high risk, children under one-year-old or people who are pregnant.

* Exposure to pertussis and contact with high-risk individuals.

The health district recommends practicing good respiratory hygiene:

* Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

* Immediately throw away used tissues in the wastebasket.

* Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

* Talk to your healthcare provider if you have been exposed to pertussis.

* Anyone who is not up to date on their pertussis vaccination should seek care with their healthcare provider to update their immunization status.

* If you are experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, stay home for 24 hours and seek healthcare evaluation if symptoms do not improve.

Wearing medical grade surgical masks can prevent the spread of droplets and protect people from passing on pertussis and decrease the risk of contracting pertussis, according to the news release. But the most effective measure against pertussis is vaccination.

The health district is working with school officials, local healthcare providers and the state Department of Health to respond and monitor affected individuals and their families, according to the news release.


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