Infectious disease concerns discussed

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Logan County Health District staff and Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott provided updates during the Wednesday afternoon board of health meeting about infectious disease outbreaks affecting various parts of Ohio.  

Pertussis continues to be an issue in Logan County, while the measles outbreak reported in Knox and Holmes counties among the Amish community has not yet been detected in Logan County, the health commissioner said.

To help prevent the spread of the measles to the local Amish community, LCHD nursing staff hosted an immunization clinic Wednesday evening in Belle Center to utilize the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine provided by the Ohio Department of Health.

“We’ve been able to put the clinic together in just a few days, and have received a lot of interest from the Amish community, with children and adults signing up to receive the vaccine,” said Kay Schroer, nursing director.

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine is about 99 percent effective in preventing the illness.

Regarding pertussis, also known as whooping cough, three confirmed cases have been reported in the county, an increase from the two cases reported earlier in the week. Elementary school-age children are among the confirmed cases, Dr. Hoddinott said.

“This is something we tend to see every year because the vaccine is only about 70 percent effective. Fortunately, for those who have been vaccinated, the symptoms of whooping cough are much less severe.”

Children receive the DTap vaccine as infants and before entering kindergarten, and the Tdap booster vaccine is recommended for pre-teens, teens and adults.

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.

Tips for preventing the spread of whooping cough include frequent hand washing with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes and avoid sharing cups or silverware.