Important Information about PERTUSSIS

Pertussis Outbreak in Kitsap County
Updated 06/12/15

In late 2014 through spring 2015, Kitsap County experienced an outbreak of pertussis with 153 cases reported since June 2014. The majority of cases were residents of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap. The number of cases of pertussis in Kitsap County have returned to baseline levels so we are no longer posting outbreak data on our website. For questions about the outbreak, pertussis or any communicable disease, call our clinic nurses at 360-728-2235.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your family from pertussis all-the-time—not just during outbreaks--and help protect infants in our community:

  • Keep sick children home from school, preschool and/or childcare.
  • See a doctor if you or your child has a persistent cough and other symptoms of pertussis (see description below).
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Stay home from work if you are sick! 
  • If you are sick, stay away from others, especially from infants and pregnant women.
  • Make sure your children have had the recommended doses of the pertussis vaccine (DTaP).
  • Talk to your physician about the pertussis booster (Tdap) that’s recommended for 10-12 year olds, pregnant women, and other adults caring for infants.

About Pertussis (“Whooping Cough”)

Pertussis spreads very easily by coughing and sneezing. It begins with cold-like symptoms and develops into a bad cough. Coughing spells can be severe, sometimes ending in gagging or vomiting. Some children may also have a high-pitched “whoop” after they cough, which is how the disease got its common name.  Infants often may only have trouble breathing or feeding, or may turn purple, and need to be seen right away by a physician.

What does whooping cough sound like?

Adults and children may catch pertussis and spread it to others, even if they were already vaccinated, because the vaccine wears off over time. Pertussis poses special risk to infants less than one year of age and persons with compromised immune systems.  All adults, especially pregnant women, as well as children and those caring for infants and children, should ensure their pertussis vaccinations are current.

The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination. Vaccinated children and adults can become infected with and transmit pertussis; however, disease is less likely to be severe. Vaccination of pregnant women with Tdap is especially important to help protect infants.

CDC's 2015 Recommended Immunizations for Children from birth to 6 years old

Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease.

Additional information is available from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

Frequently Asked Questions About Whooping Cough (DOH)
Frequently Asked Questions About Whooping Cough (CDC)

Additional information and resources on pertussis


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