NEWS RELEASE-Immediate Release

DECEMBER 27, 2017

Increase in Pertussis (whooping cough) reported in Tuba City Service Areas

Tuba City, AZ. – Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC) has confirmed an increase in Pertussis (whooping cough) illness in the Tuba City Service areas. As a result, TCRHCC is reminding individuals of the importance of vaccinations for both children and adults.

Early symptoms of pertussis are mild and cold-like, including runny nose, sneezing and coughing that becomes more persistent. Pertussis is easily spread when an infected person coughs. It can cause spells of violent coughing and gasping for breath in young children and can last for weeks. Children often make a "whooping" noise when they breathe. This disease is most serious for babies under a year old, immunocompromised individuals and pregnant women.

Adults who get pertussis often have a cough, but don't "whoop”. Unfortunately, many adults with pertussis are not treated and pass this disease on to others, possibly young children. Any adults or children who have a cough that has lasted for over 14 days should be evaluated by their health care provider, especially if the illness includes coughing fits, vomiting after coughing, or whooping. Pertussis is easily spread from:

  • Prolonged face-to-face contact within 3 feet of an infected person
  • Direct contact with secretions from the cough, nose or mouth
  • Sharing the same confined space with an infected person for more than an hour

Antibiotics are available to treat the infection and prevent further spreads of the disease.

Immunization is extremely important for the prevention and control of pertussis in our communities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and acellular pertussis) vaccine for infants and children through age six. Tdap vaccinations, which contain protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, are recommended for preteens, teens and adults and should be given to 7 – 10 year olds who are not fully vaccinated against the illness. Pertussis vaccinations are required by the State of Arizona for school attendance.

If going to the healthcare facility and you are coughing, PLEASE wear a mask. For further information, you can call Elfreida Bizaholoni, RN, Infection Prevention Nurse, TCRHCC 928-606-2825; or Dr. Hu or Dr. Oski at TCRHCC Pediatric Clinic at 928-283-2679.

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