September 19, 2012
MASON COUNTY — A potentially fatal disease among infants and children, Pertussis, also known as whooping cough has been confirmed in Mason County.
Diana Riddle with the Mason County Health Department stated there were two confirmed cases of whooping cough in Mason County, one of which was in the school system. A student that attends Point Pleasant Primary School was one of the reported cases.
In order to prevent as many other cases as possible, Riddle stated the health department has been interviewing school staff and parents who may have come in contact with the disease. They are also working with the county schools and sending home information on whooping cough with the students, as well as contacting those who may have come in contact with the disease and advising them to seek treatment with their physicians.
“It’s been a really good joint effort,” Riddle said on getting information and awareness out to students and their parents.
It was reported that whooping cough is caused by bacteria and more often occurs in children. According to information provided by the Mason County Health Department, there are different stages of symptoms, the first stage being similar to a cold. Other symptoms can include a slight fever, sneezing, runny nose, dry cough, loss of appetite and irritability.
The second stage of symptoms, which normally come about one to two weeks later, includes a more intense cough. It was reported the intense coughing spells are followed with a long gasp for air, or the “whoop” sounding gasp. It was stated during this stage a person’s face may turn blue, their nose may bleed, and vomiting may occur.
During the third stage, it was reported the cough gets less intense and less frequent and appetite begins to increase, and the cough will eventually stop.
Reportedly, whooping cough is spread through contact of an infected person’s nose or throat secretions, which can happen when one touches another person’s nose or throat drainage, or when the infected person coughs or sneezes. It was also stated that antibiotics are given to make the illness less contagious, but they do not reduce symptoms unless given at the early stages of the illness.
Of course, children and adolescents are often immunized for whooping cough as part of the required immunizations to attend school. There are also booster vaccines available for children and adults. Riddle said the health department still has whooping cough vaccines available, which are normally given from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. every Thursday, except the second Thursday of the month. For more information, call the health department at 304-675-3050.