GRANT COUNTY—Public health workers in Grant County are investigating two confirmed cases of Whooping Cough -- including one that took the life of a baby.
The baby died Tuesday night at Children's Hospital in Seattle.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of this baby," said Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer. "Our hearts go out to the family during this very difficult time."
The Grant County Health District is working with those exposed to the infected children to try to prevent the disease from spreading.
According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8,000 to 25,000 cases of Whooping Cough, also known as Pertussis, are reported each year.
Experts say Pertussis has re-emerged as one of the most pressing public health issues during the last decade -- due to increasing numbers of cases and lower vaccination rates.
Public health officials are investigating multiple outbreaks of Pertussis in the United States, including cases in California and Idaho.
"Many adults and adolescents, such as high school students, may not yet have had a booster," says Jeff Ketchel, Health District administrator. "Talk with your health care provider about staying current on vaccines."
From 2005-2009 Washington state had 2,636 cases of whooping cough. During this same time period Grant County had 17 cases.
About one in 20 infants with Pertussis get pneumonia ( lung infection) and about one in 100 will have convulsions.
Pertussis can be fatal, especially in babies that are less than a year old.
Nearly all infants with Pertussis get the infection from an infected adult.
A typical case of Pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one-to-two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes ends with a whooping sound. Fever is rare.
Unfortunately, young infants are less likely to have a notable cough - caregivers and health care providers should consider the possibility of Pertussis in infants with coughs or colds to help in prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Health officials remind us of the following facts about Pertussis:
- Pertussis is a vaccine preventable disease.
- Children should get five DTaP vaccinations between two months of age and when they start school.
- Because immunity from Pertussis vaccine or disease wears off, family members and caregivers of infants should make sure they are up to date with their Pertussis vaccinations.
- To protect their babies, women should get the Tdap booster before, during or immediately after pregnancy.
- All health care workers and childcare providers should be fully immunized for Pertussis.
- The Tdap booster shot is available and recommended for people 11-64.
- Tdap vaccine is required for 6th grade school entry.