Whooping cough increase seen in Tuscarawas Co.

Whooping cough increase seen in Tuscarawas Co.

Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a contagious disease that anyone, at any age, can contract.


Between Feb. 1 and April 12, the communicable disease staff at the Tuscarawas County Health Department has recorded an increase in pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, with six confirmed cases and two probable cases.

Comparatively, there were only four confirmed pertussis cases in Tuscarawas County during 2022. Pertussis is a contagious disease that anyone, at any age, can contract. It can have serious complications such as apnea, pneumonia, convulsions, encephalopathy and death.

The bacteria that cause whooping cough spreads easily from person to person through the air. Coughing and sneezing send the bacteria into the air, and others breathe it in.

Some individuals can be contagious and not even know it. People can spread the disease for up to three weeks from the time coughing first began. The amount of time an individual is contagious can shorten to five days after the start of an antibiotic.

Every dose of antibiotic prescription needs to be completed, even if a person is feeling better. In certain situations, close contacts of pertussis cases may be treated with an antibiotic to prevent infection. The preventive antibiotic should be started as soon as possible within 21 days of exposure to pertussis.

“We are attempting to inform and educate the community about the importance of seeking medical assistance for any whooping cough diagnosis and the need to take antibiotics that are known to help treat the disease,” said Amy Kaser, RN, director of nursing at the TCHD. “Mainly, we want to ensure and encourage everyone in the community to be up to date with the Tdap vaccine, which protects against pertussis.”

For more information or to inquire about an outreach vaccine clinic for Tdap, call Kaser at 330-343-5555 ext. 1800. To schedule an appointment to receive the Tdap vaccine, call the Tuscarawas County Health Department’s scheduling lines at 330-343-5555 ext. 1810 or ext. 1740 or talk with your medical provider.

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