The Chelan-Douglas Health District is reporting 17 cases of pertussis, more commonly known as Whooping Cough.

The health agency has received confirmation of one additional case with no link to the others.

CDHD says the additional case supports it's suspicion that Whooping Cough is circulating more broadly throughout the community.

The health district confirmed its first case of this outbreak on February 14 at a local school.

CDHD says complications of Whooping Cough can be severe, particularly infants.

Complications include pneumonia, passing out, seizures, stopping breathing and death.

Half of the infected infants with whooping cough have been hospitalized.

According to CDHD, whooping cough is a well-known and serious respiratory illness that spreads very easily by coughing and sneezing.

Some kids also may have a high-pitched “whoop” after they cough, which is how the disease got its common name.

CDHD says people that have been vaccinated for Whooping Cough may have milder symptoms, but can still get and transmit pertussis.

Wearing medical-grade surgical masks can prevent the spread of droplets and protect individuals from passing on Whooping Cough and decrease the risk of contracting it.  The most effective measure against the illness is vaccination.

The health agency says individuals with the following symptoms or exposure should contact their healthcare provider:

  1. Any respiratory illness with a cough: greater than 2 weeks duration, or that is paroxysmal, or includes an inspiratory whoop/gasping, or has post-tussive gagging/emesis, or is worse at night
  2. Any respiratory symptoms that develop after known contact with a person with pertussis
  3. Known household or other close contact with a person with pertussis
  4. Exposure to pertussis and the high-risk conditions of age <1 year or pregnancy
  5. Exposure to pertussis and contact with family members or others with high-risk conditions of age <1 year or pregnancy

CDHD recommends practicing good respiratory hygiene:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw away used tissues in the wastebasket right away.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider if you have been exposed to Pertussis.
  • Anyone who is not up to date on their pertussis vaccination schedule seek care with their healthcare provider to update their immunization status.
  • If you are experiencing respiratory illness symptoms, stay home for 24 hours and seek healthcare evaluation if symptoms do not improve.

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