Health district investigating whooping cough case

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MOSES LAKE — The Grant County Health District (GCHD) is investigating one laboratory confirmed case of whooping cough in Grant County.

According to a health district news release, the health district has identified the times, dates and locations of where the individual infected with whooping cough was present last week — Confluence Health Care in Moses Lake Monday, April 22 from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.; Samaritan Clinic on Tuesday, April 23, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and again at Confluence in Moses Lake on Wednesday, April 24, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

“There is the potential for more cases to occur,” said Grant County Health Officer Alexander Brzezny. “All family members with a close contact to those with whooping cough have been notified by the GCHD and offered post-exposure prohpylaxis with antibiotics.”

The health district describes whooping cough as “a highly contagious disease” that is spread through coughing and sneezing. It starts out with a cough, which becomes worse over a week or two, accompanied by a runny nose, low-grade fever, and sometimes difficulty breathing.

Later symptoms include constant coughing fits, along with vomiting and exhaustion following those fits.

“Because whooping cough in its early stages appears to be nothing more than the common cold, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear,” the health district said.

The best way to avoid getting whooping cough is to get vaccinated, the health district said. Because immunity from pertussis (whooping cough) wears off, the health district advises that babies get four vaccinations (at two, four, six, and 15-18 months), again at ages 4-6, again upon entry into 6th grade, and again at least once as an adult.

“The vaccine is particularly important to those who could expose infants (pregnant women, family members, healthcare and daycare workers) and where the disease can spread rapidly (schools, hospitals),” the district said.

If you think you have been exposed, the district advises you call your healthcare provider or the GCHD at 509-766-7960 to speak with a public health nurse.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached via email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

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