Whooping Cough Confirmed in Flathead County

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead City-County Health Department reports that there are nine cases of pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, confirmed in Flathead County since Oct. 15.

Eight of those cases are school-age children in three different school districts within the county, and at least six of the ill are not fully vaccinated against the sickness. According to the health department, these cases are unrelated to the two cases previously reported at the beginning of the school year.

Immunization rates have increased, and people identified as those who could come in contact with someone already ill with pertussis have followed up on recommended antibiotics to prevent illness.

“The community response to pertussis reports earlier this year has helped curb the disease in our community,” Jody White, community health director, said.

Anyone with pertussis should not go to day care, school, work or public gatherings until at least five days after starting antibiotic treatment. The health department noted it is important that anyone in close contact with a person with pertussis – including classmates – should be treated with medication at the same time as the ill person.

Health officials urge those who have a cough lasting for more than one week to consult with a health care provider.

Vaccine is available for people older than 2 months old. For more information, contact the health department at 751-8110, or a medical provider.

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