Whooping cough diagnosed in Haywood County; authorities say it's in Henderson, too

Cropped Photo: Public Health Image Library

A student at Pisgah High School in Canton was diagnosed with whooping cough recently, and now county officials say the disease is in Henderson County as well.

On November 16, 2017, the Henderson County Department of Public Health was notified of a positive laboratory result for pertussis (whooping cough) for an individual that had contact with other people in Henderson County.

The Henderson County Department of Public Health, NC Division of Public Health and other community partners are working together to investigate the case and identify individuals that may have been close contacts.

The date for onset of symptoms for the positive case was Wednesday, November 8, 2017. Individuals are most contagious for the first 2 weeks after the cough begins, although some individuals might have a cough and other symptoms that persist for months. The positive case is currently receiving medical treatment for pertussis.

According to the Henderson County Department of Public Health, early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever (generally minimal through the course of the disease)
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing (in infants)

Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5-10 days after being exposed, but sometimes not for as long as 3 weeks.

Close contacts of the positive case have been identified and have received guidance from public health nurses about pertussis and the steps they need to take to protect themselves. Close contacts include individuals that were in close proximity with the positive case from November 7, 2017 through November 17, 2017 that:

  • Had direct contact with respiratory, oral or nasal secretions
  • Had face to face exposure within 3 feet
  • Shared the same confined space in close proximity for 1 hour or more

Close contacts that are not current for pertussis vaccination, pregnant women, infants and those with pre-existing chronic respiratory disease or weakened immune systems are most at risk. Other contacts that may pose a significant transmission risk to the high-risk populations noted above will also need to be identified. Communicable disease nurses will screen contacts of the positive case to provide advice appropriate to the individual’s circumstances.

For additional information about whooping cough or to speak with a public health communicable disease nurse, call (828) 694-6019.

There is additional information on pertussis (whooping cough) here,

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