Highly contagious disease reaches Muscogee County - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Highly contagious disease reaches Muscogee County

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Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease. Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease.
MUSCOGEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) -

A highly contagious respiratory infection that has alarmed officials in Mobile, Ala. is now hitting close to home.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, has been found in Muscogee County. What concerns health officials the most is how quickly it can spread.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can cause severe coughing and even death, especially in young children and babies. The symptoms include a runny or stuffed nose, sneezing, mild cough, and a pause in breathing for infants. After two weeks the symptoms can become very severe. Violent coughing fits can make it difficult to breathe, eat, drink, or sleep. 

Many young children contract whooping cough from older relatives who do not know they have it.

There were 28 cases of whooping cough in our health district last year, with 14 confirmed cases in Muscogee County. In 2014, there have been 10 cases so far in the health district and one in Muscogee County.

Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics, but health officials say the best course of action is vaccination. Whooping cough can easily be spread when a person coughs or sneezes, and a person can be contagious for as long as two weeks after the coughing starts.

Pamela Fair of Safe Kids Columbus says the disease has prompted a new requirement for children.

"All students entering the seventh grade will be required to produce a certificate showing that they've had a booster TDAP vaccination. The 'P' in TDAP stands for pertussis and that's what that is that would be the whooping cough," said Fair.

If you have a child entering the seventh grade, it is best to get them vaccinated at the Department of Health now while there are no long lines. They can also be vaccinated by their regular healthcare provider.

 

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