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Whooping Cough Case Confirmed in the Area

publish date: Tuesday, January 12, 2016

One case of pertussis has been confirmed in the Three Rivers District of Dodge, Saunders and Washington Counties. 

Whooping Cough - known medically as pertussis - is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.   The Pertussis bacteria are spread through the air as droplets from coughing or sneezing, and can be very contagious.   “Because it is so contagious and spreads very fast, early action is key if there are any suspected cases,” stated Terra Uhing, Executive Director of the Three Rivers Public Health Department.  “In order to prevent a community outbreak, folks should make an appointment with their healthcare provider immediately if they suspect that they or their child may have whooping cough,” Uhing stated.  The signs and symptoms of Whooping Cough, at first, resemble those of the common cold, which then develop into rapid, high-pitched coughs.  Pertussis is most severe for babies; more than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized. About 1 in 5 infants with pertussis get pneumonia (lung infection), and about 1 in 100 will have convulsions. In rare cases (1 in 100), pertussis can be deadly, especially in infants.

The best way to protect against pertussis is to get vaccinated.  All infants receive a series of 5 doses of the DTaP vaccination, which eventually builds their immunity to Whooping Cough, Tetanus (Lockjaw), and Diphtheria.  All 5 doses are needed for maximum protection.  Adolescents should receive the Tdap vaccine at their regular check-up at age 11 or 12. As of 2010 school year, it became required for all 7th graders to have the Tdap vaccine.  If teenagers (13 through 18 years) missed getting the Tdap vaccine, contact your physician or the health department.

Any adult who has, or will have, close contact with an infant younger than 12 months of age (e.g., parents, grandparents, child-care providers, and healthcare personnel) should receive 1 dose of Tdap vaccine 2 weeks before beginning close contact with the infant. This helps to protect infants before they’ve developed adequate immunity against Pertussis.   “This immunization should be administered at their physician’s office; however, if their insurance plan does not cover it or their plan has a high deductible, they can receive the Tdap immunization at the Three Rivers Immunization Clinic for a reduced price.  They should just call the health department to make an appointment,” said Terra Uhing.

For more information about the DTaP vaccine for infants or the Tdap for adults, ask your healthcare provider or contact the Three Rivers Public Health Department at (402) 727-5396, or visit

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Three Rivers Public Health Department

Serving Dodge, Saunders & Washington Counties in Eastern Nebraska

2400 North Lincoln Avenue, Fremont, NE 68025   •   402-727-5396   •   1-866-727-5396   •   [email protected]

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