Posted: May 9, 2012 12:36 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center
Updated: May 10, 2012 7:12 AM
KALISPELL- Several cases of pertussis are being reported in a pair of school districts with local health officials saying they have received reports of eight cases.
The Flathead City-County Health Department is also cautioning in a news release that they are waiting for additional whooping cough test results to come back.
"We are working closely with school personnel and medical providers to identify contacts to these cases and to refer symptomatic individuals for testing." said Jody White, RN, Community Health Services Director.
Officials have not yet indicated which school districts are seeing the pertussis cases, but they advise that folks who been exposed and are showing symptoms of whooping cough should stay home from school or work until they can see a doctor.
Health officials urge those who have had a cough lasting more than one week to consult their health care provider. Symptoms usually appear within five to 10 days after exposure, but can take as long as 21 days to show up.
The first symptoms to appear are similar to those of a common cold accompanied by coughing. The cough gradually becomes worse with coughing spasms, which can end in vomiting or the characteristic, high-pitched "whoop." If you have suspicious symptoms please stay home and call your doctor. Early treatment and notification of close contacts is important.
Pertussis is spread through direct contact with discharges from the mouth and nose of infected persons and health officials are emphasizing that the best way to avoid contracting whooping cough is by getting immunized.
Flathead County is just the latest area to report whooping cough cases. Over 30 cases reported in Ravalli County prompted officials to order that some students be kept home from school. A case has recently been reported at Sentinel High School in Missoula and earlier this week at least two cases were reported in Billings.
Click here to learn more about the symptoms and treatments of pertussis.