A caregiver at Adena Pike Medical Center, located in Waverly, has been diagnosed with Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough. As a precaution, people who were inpatients in the facility on days when the caregiver was working over the past two weeks, have been notified by phone and offered antibiotics at no cost to them. In addition, staff working closely with the caregiver have also been started on an antibiotic regimen.
“The majority of people in the U.S. have been immunized for pertussis, but as we get older, the effectiveness can wear off,” said Julie McCray, Adena’s Manager of Infection Prevention. “Adults who do come down with the illness tend to have symptoms that are less severe than those of a child or someone who may not have been immunized.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Pertussis is considered a highly-contagious respiratory disease. It is caused when an infected person coughs or sneezes on someone or in close proximity, and the person breathes in the pertussis bacteria. Symptoms can develop within five to 10 days after exposure. However, it can take up to three weeks before a person shows symptoms.
Whooping cough starts with cold-like symptoms that may include: a mild cough, runny nose, low-grade fever, and a pause in breathing in infants. After one to two weeks, those symptoms will develop into a severe cough. Because the symptoms first present like the common cold, whooping cough is usually not suspected until it reaches the severe coughing stage. According to the CDC, infected people are most contagious up to about two weeks after the severe cough starts.
Whooping cough is generally treated with antibiotics, which treat the symptoms and help control the spread of the disease. Parents of infants should be sure their babies are immunized on schedule to prevent them from contracting the disease, which can have severe effects for very young children.
For more information about Pertussis, visit www.cdc.gov.