FREDERICKTOWN — Madison County has had laboratory-confirmed cases of Pertussis or whooping cough.
The Madison County Health Department declined to comment on how many people have been diagnosed. An official feared releasing the number would violate HIPPA regulations.
“One case is considered a problem…” she said. “The health department notifies those people who have been in contact.”
St. Francois County Health Department officials said they have not had any confirmed cases of whooping cough. However, officials encourage families with children behind on their immunizations to get their shots, especially with school about to start.
This is a childhood immunized disease. The immunization for whooping cough cannot be administered after age 6. As we age, immunization to this disease decreases.
Whooping cough is highly communicable and can cause severe disease in very young children. The disease is most severe in children less than 2 months of age, who have not received the immunization.
Whooping cough is spread through droplets from the mouth and nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. Individuals treated with antibiotics are contagious until the first five days of antibiotic treatment has been completed.
It begins with mild upper respiratory tract symptoms and progresses to a cough lasting more than a week to two weeks. The incubation period is usually five to 10 days from exposure but could be as long as three weeks.
Complications include pneumonia, middle ear infection, loss of appetite, dehydration, seizures, brain disorders, apneic episodes, and deaths. About 80 percent of the deaths associated with whooping cough occur in children under 1 year.