Microsoft word - s6pertus.doc
PERTUSSIS (WHOOPING COUGH)
Childcare and preschools use these pages, schools use pages 223-224
with local or state health department BEFORE USING THIS FACT SHEET
: This disease is reportable
to the local or state health department.
: Inform your childcare provider if your child has this illness.
Pertussis (also known as
whooping cough) can be a serious illness, especially in young, unvaccinatedchildren. Adults and older children with pertussis may be the source of infection for infants andyoung children.
, a bacterium.
Pertussis begins with a runny nose, sneezing, possibly a low-grade fever, and mildcough. After a week or two, a persistent cough develops, which may occur inexplosive bursts (paroxysmal coughing), sometimes ending in a high-pitchedwhoop and vomiting. A whoop may be absent in older children, adults and infantsyounger than 6 months. Coughing attacks occur more frequently at night. Thecoughing attacks usually increase during the first two weeks of illness and thenremain the same for two or three more weeks before gradually decreasing. Somepeople, particularly infants, may develop pneumonia and ear infections. Pertussiscan occur in vaccinated children, but the illness is usually milder.
Older children and adults may have a less typical cough; however, it is usuallypersistent and may lead to vomiting or a whoop. Although the disease is less severein adults and older children, they can unknowingly infect infants and preschoolerswho are at risk for serious illness.
When a person with pertussis coughs tiny droplets with pertussis bacteria into theair and another person breathes them in.
It takes 6 to 20 days, usually 7-10 days, from the time a person is exposed untilsymptoms start.
Begins at the time of early cold-like symptoms, before a persistent cough and
explosive bursts of coughing start. Persons remain contagious until three weeksafter explosive bursts of coughing begin. Those treated with antibiotics arecontagious until 5 days of treatment are completed.
Until 5 days after appropriate antibiotic treatment begins.
To confirm a diagnosis of pertussis, laboratory tests are performed on materialcollected by placing a flexible swab through the nostril to the back of the nose andthroat. Some lab tests (pertussis cultures) are less accurate after antibiotics are given.
Call your healthcare provider.
1. Antibiotics shorten the time a person with pertussis can give it to others, but
may do little to lessen their symptoms. Treatment is most effective if startedsoon after cough begins. Antibiotics are usually not given to people who havehad a cough for more than 20 days because they will no longer be helpful.
2. Erythromycin (40 to 50 mg/kg per day orally in four divided doses, maximum 2
grams per day) for 14 days, as tolerated, is recommended for household and
PERTUSSIS (WHOOPING COUGH)
other close contacts, such as those in childcare, regardless of age and
vaccination status. Some experts recommend the estolate preparation forchildren but not for adults.
3. Clarithromycin (Biaxin!) for 7 days, or azithromycin (Zithromax!) for 5 days,
4. Bactrim! or Septra! for 14 days are possible alternatives, but are not
recommended for use in pregnant women.
1. Minnesota state law requires that all children 2 months of age or older enrolled in
childcare settings or schools be vaccinated against pertussis (along with tetanus anddiphtheria) or have a legal exemption. Children should receive a DTaP at 2months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 to 18 months, and a booster dose at 4-6 years ofage.
2. If your child develops the symptoms described above within 20 days after last
contact with the infected child, keep your child at home and call your healthcareprovider.
Exposure to pertussis:
3. If your child is exposed to pertussis and is not up to date on pertussis vaccinations,
please call your healthcare provider or public health clinic to have your childvaccinated.
4. Call your healthcare provider if you or your child have been exposed to pertussis
because you may need to receive preventive antibiotic treatment.
For more information, you or your healthcare provider may call Hennepin County Community HealthDepartment at (952) 351-5230, or call your local health department.
Prepared by Hennepin County Community Health Department with the support of the local and state disease prevention andcontrol staff and childcare consultants.
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