Logan County Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott urges area residents to receive a DTap/Tdap vaccine following two confirmed cases of pertussis in the county.
Related to these cases, Bellefontaine City Schools sent home a letter to families last week describing pupils receiving medical care for the illness.
Dr. Hoddinott said in addition to the confirmed cases, other individuals could also have contracted the respiratory illness, commonly known as whooping cough. But these individuals might not have sought medical treatment because they think they simply have a lingering cough.
“We get cases of whooping cough popping up here every year because the immunizations that we have are about 60 to 70 percent effective,” he said this morning. “However, with the vaccine, symptoms are much less severe than if the person had not been vaccinated.”
Some of the symptoms of whooping cough include an uncontrollable, violent cough that can make it difficult to breathe, along with a runny nose, slight fever and diarrhea. The deep “whooping” sound often heard when the person tries to take a breath is where the whooping cough common name is derived.
The coughing fits can last for up to 10 weeks or more, and the illness is treated with antibiotics.
Children receive the DTap vaccine as infants and before entering kindergarten, and the Tdap booster vaccine is recommended for pre-teens, teens and adults.
To prevent the spread of the highly contagious respiratory tract infection, people are encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, cover their cough and sneezes and to avoid sharing cups or silverware.