Health department responding to outbreak of whooping cough in Lawrence

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States.

Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is one of the most commonly occurring ones in the United States.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department reported Thursday that there have been six cases of whooping cough in Lawrence during the past month.

Lisa Horn, spokeswoman, said all of the cases involve children who are younger than school age but do not attend a day care. She said some of the children are related, but not all of them. Four of the cases involve unvaccinated children.

It’s the second outbreak this year. In March, there were seven cases and six of them involved unvaccinated children.

Pertussis — more commonly called whooping cough — is a contagious, bacterial, respiratory disease spread by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others.

Horn said parents, older siblings or other caregivers, who may not know they have pertussis, can infect infants with the illness.

The symptoms of pertussis begin much like a common cold:

• Runny nose or congestion.

• Sneezing.

• Occasionally a mild cough or fever.

• Infants and children with the disease may cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they’re forced to inhale with a loud “whooping” sound.

The health department said whooping cough may be mild in older children and adults, but in younger children, the illness can be complicated by pneumonia and occasionally brain inflammation. In rare cases — one out of 200 — pertussis can cause death, especially in children age 1 or younger.

Horn said the best protection is vaccination, and the health department has vaccine available at its clinic, 200 Maine.

If you have any questions about vaccination or if you or your child is experiencing pertussis symptoms, contact your physician or the health department at 843-0721 and ask for a communicable disease nurse.

Tagged: Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, pertussis, whooping cough

Comments

none2 2 years, 5 months ago

My grandmother used to share with me stories that her mother had told her about going to school in the Chicago area back in the 1890's. Her mother said that so frequently there would be an empty school desk with a few pansies placed on top. Pansies were considered the flower for children. They were put there to memorialize a child that had died from one of many numerous disease that children had to deal with back then.

That was over 120 years ago. Now we have modern medicine that while it cannot cure everything, it is much more advanced than back then. Yet we still have nut cases on both the extreme right (ie Michele Bachmann) as well as those on the extreme right that care more about some radical agenda medical than keeping children from needlessly dying.

Any parent who would allow their child to get a preventable disease should loose custody of those children. They are unfit parents.

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The_Original_Bob 2 years, 5 months ago

"Four of the cases involve unvaccinated children.

It’s the second outbreak this year. In March, there were seven cases and six of them involved unvaccinated children."

I bet the doctors and nurses attending these children wish it were legal to slap these parents.

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Megan Green Stuke 2 years, 5 months ago

This is terrible. No reason a single soul should have whooping cough. Vaccines are REALLY NEAT!

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TheBigW 2 years, 5 months ago

How many of the those kids are from the last go around in march? The last time we all got to learn the mindset of one Ms. Maggie Beatles who professed she don;t take her kid to a real doctor, but to a alt practice that suits "her lifestyle" and lead to her kids not getting the needed medical treatments and allowing her kid for 8 weeks to contaminate both the Little Red School house & Lawrence Art Centers pre-school programs.

Talk about child abuse! These people should be charged and have their kids removed from their care.

It's no surprise to see a return of this in out community because to the actions of a few of the Lawrence nut cases with their warped views.

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mkinley 2 years, 5 months ago

I was given a pertussis vaccine in the hospital almost immediately after my baby was born last November. They said anyone who would be spending time with the newborn needed one, so her father, and both grandmothers also got the vaccine. Smart.

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walkthehawk 2 years, 6 months ago

just for the record, this statistic appears to be WAY off base. The mortality rate hospitalized patients is estimated at 1 in 500--and many, many adults (most of whom were vaccinated as children) are estimated to contract and carry whooping cough every year. See, e.g. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/803186-overview#a0199

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Boston_Corbett 2 years, 6 months ago

Vaccines people!

Do you want to roll the dice and be the family out of 200 who will lose a child from a preventable illness?

If there are six reported cases out there, there are a lot more unreported cases, and many infection sources, currently in the community.

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