Notice from King County Public Health
Washington State and King County are experiencing a widespread pertussis outbreak. In King County, there were 191 confirmed cases of pertussis reported in the first 4 months of 2012 – the highest number reported for this time of year in the past decade, and more than the reports received in all of last year.
Pertussis is a bacterial illness that may begin with symptoms like the common cold: runny nose, scratchy throat, or cough. The cough then gets worse over one to two weeks. Fever is usually mild or absent. Most children and adults don’t get seriously ill. But for infants, pertussis can be life-threatening. Last year, two infants in Washington State died of pertussis.
There are many things you can to do protect your family and your community from pertussis:
- Make sure that everyone in your family, including teens, parents and grandparents, are up-to-date on all of their shots. There is a one-time pertussis booster shot that all teens and adults should receive if they have not already had it.
- Keep coughing people away from babies and pregnant women.
- See a doctor for symptoms of pertussis. These include:
- Coughing a week or more with any of the following: uncontrollable fits of coughing, vomiting after coughing, or coughing until out of breath
- Coughing two weeks or more
- See a doctor sooner for your cough if someone close to you has recently had pertussis.
- Infants, pregnant women in their 3rd trimester, and people who have close contact with them should see a doctor for any new or worsening unexplained cough.
- People with pertussis should stay out of work, child care, school, camp, team sports, and other group activities until five days of antibiotic medicine for pertussis have been finished People who have pertussis and don’t take antibiotics should stay out for three weeks, or until the cough is completely gone.
- Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently with soap and water, and stay home from work, child care, or school when sick.
Thank you for taking these steps to protect the health of your family and community. If you have questions about pertussis or are concerned that you might have pertussis, please call your health care provider. For more information you may also call Public Health at 206-296-4774.
- Pertussis information letters:
- Recommendations for exclusion due to suspected or confirmed pertussis
- Pertussis factsheet
- Pertussis information letter to parents
- Pertussis newsletter article template in Microsoft Word format
- Pertussis outbreak flyer
- Pertussis exposure notification template in Microsoft Word format