Windham County Experiencing Rise in Whooping Cough Cases

By Joe Gullo

Published 07/09 2014 11:29AM

Updated 07/09 2014 11:33AM

BURLINGTON, Vt. - The Vermont Health Department says Windham County is experiencing a rise in whooping cough (pertussis) cases.

There is a total of 11 confirmed cases of whooping cough during the month of June. Ten of the cases were among children ages 3 to 17, and one was an adult. In July, five more suspected cases were discovered.  The Health Department says all but one of the confirmed and suspected cases are from Brattleboro.

“Anyone who has a persistent cough should be evaluated by his or her health care provider,” said Susan Schoenfeld, deputy state epidemiologist for infectious disease. “People with suspected or confirmed pertussis should stay away from others until five days of antibiotic therapy have been completed. We ask anyone with coughing illness to stay away from infants, and we recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated to pass some protection on to their newborn.”

The Health Department says cases occurred as schools were closing or had closed for the summer. 

Symptoms of Whooping Cough 

The infection usually begins with mild upper respiratory symptoms and an irritating cough that gradually worsens to include spasms of coughing, possible whooping, short periods without breathing, or gagging or vomiting after coughing spells. Coughing usually lasts at least two weeks. Infants may have less typical symptoms, such as gagging or difficulty breathing.

The Health Department says whooping cough vaccines are recommended for babies starting at 2 months old, children, adolescents and adults – especially pregnant women. The DTaP vaccine is for babies, starting at 2 months old, and children.  The Tdap vaccine is for children age 11 and older, and for adults. 

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