Whooping cough keeps spreading

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New cases confirmed in middle school, early childhood center

By Meaghan Downs

Fourteen children in Anderson County have tested positive for “whooping cough,” Interim Public Health Director Tim Wright confirmed Tuesday morning.
Pertussis or “whooping cough,” a bacterial infection highly contagious three days after it’s first contracted, has now spread to both the Anderson County Middle School and Ezra B. Sparrow Early Childhood Center.
Wright said the health department has confirmed seven positive cases at Emma B. Ward Elementary (where the first case of whooping cough was officially confirmed and reported Nov. 9), two at Saffell Street Elementary, two at the middle school and one at ECC.
A 3-year-old child and 14-month-old infant also contracted the infection, Wright said.
To his knowledge, Wright said, all confirmed cases have been treated.
The Anderson County Health Department has ordered about 160 more doses of the whooping cough vaccine to continue offering immunizations to the public for $5 per shot.
Children 10 years old and older as well as adults are eligible to receive the whooping cough immunization, Wright said.
The department accepts both appointments and walk-ins, he said, but if the department is booked with appointments, some walk-in vaccinations may need to be rescheduled for the following day.
“We want to accommodate everyone, but we have to take care of the people who have appointments,” he said.
Whooping cough, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, may last up to six weeks and coughing spells may result in vomiting, runny nose, a slight fever or diarrhea.
Wright said the vaccination may not prevent those elementary students who have already been in contact with whooping cough from getting it; the infection usually takes 10-14 days to show symptoms.
Receiving the vaccine after already being exposed to whooping cough will not prevent students from getting whooping cough now, Wright said, but the immunization may prevent a positive case in the future.
For more information on the symptoms and treatment for whooping cough, visit the health department’s website at www.achdonline.org or its Facebook page at “Anderson County Health Department (ACHD).”

How to get vaccine
Anderson County Health Department will continue to offer the Tdap whooping cough vaccine to Anderson County individuals 10 years old and older:
When: Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: 1180 Glensboro Road, Lawrenceburg
Cost: $5 per whooping cough vaccine shot
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the health department at 502-839-4551.