Increase in Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Cases in Kansas City, KS

There has been an increase in the number of reported cases of pertussis, better known as “whooping cough” to the Unified Government (UG) Public Health Department. UG Public Health Department staff urge residents of Kansas City, Kansas to take steps to reduce the spread of this disease.

“Pertussis can be very contagious and especially serious in young babies,” said Elizabeth Groenweghe, Chief Epidemiologist at the UG Public Health Department. “If you suspect you or your child may have pertussis, it is important to get evaluated by a doctor or other health care provider.”

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. The disease begins with cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, mild cough, and low-grade fever. After 1-2 weeks, it can progress to a severe cough that lasts for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Some people may cough so violently that they make a loud “whooping” sound. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially siblings and parents, can spread pertussis to newborns.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with pertussis, you/family member should remain home from all activities (for example; work, school, daycare) until you/they have completed the prescribed antibiotics to treat pertussis. People with pertussis are contagious for 3 weeks after the cough starts or until they complete antibiotic treatment.

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. There are safe and effective pertussis vaccines for babies/young children and boosters for preteens. In addition, pregnant women should receive a vaccine during their 27th-36th week of pregnancy. You can get vaccinations at your regular health care provider, at most clinics, or at a local health department.

More information for individuals and families: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/about/index.html
More information for medical providers: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/index.html
To contact the UG Public Health Department, call 913-573-8855


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