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The Department of Health is investigating a confirmed case of pertussis (whooping cough) in a student at Piñon Elementary School.
Families with children at Piñon have been alerted about exposure.
Close contacts may develop symptoms for up to three weeks after the last exposure.
Pertussis is a bacterial respiratory infection. Symptoms of pertussis usually begin with cold symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, sore throat and usually little or no fever.
After several days of mild symptoms, the cough may become more severe; it may come in spasms or as a series of coughs without a chance to breathe in between coughs.
There may be a gasp or “whoop” and/or gagging or vomiting at the end of the coughing spasm. Infants who get pertussis can become very ill and may develop pneumonia or other serious complications.
The cough of pertussis can last for months, even after antibiotic treatment.
Pertussis can be spread when people come into close contact with a person who has the disease and is coughing.
Household contacts are at greatest risk, but people who spend several hours in a day near the ill person, especially in a confined area, or who are in direct contact with respiratory secretions (such as in a direct cough into the face) are at risk also. Symptoms of pertussis usually begin about one to two weeks after an exposure, but people who have been in close contact with someone with pertussis can avoid getting the infection by taking preventive antibiotic treatment.
The best known/scientifically proven way to prevent pertussis is through the pertussis vaccine. An adolescent and adult pertussis vaccine, Tdap, is now available as a booster for teens and adults. It is recommended that those students who are due for a Tdap booster dose receive it now.
For more information, contact Infectious Disease Epidemiology in Santa Fe at 505-827-0006.