Pertussis cases nearly double last year’s at start of school year in Utah Co.

File Photo: Child Coughing | Photo: Ryan Boren / CC BY 2.0

PROVO, Utah — The Utah County Health Department is recommending vaccination due to an increase in pertussis cases this year.

According to a news release from UCHD, the number of pertussis cases at this point in the year is almost double the number of cases for the same time frame in 2017.

Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” is a contagious disease and can be life-threatening in small children. Symptoms include a runny nose and an irritating cough.

“In previously immunized teenagers and adults it frequently presents as a very persistent and sometimes severe cough that lasts for weeks; it may also present as a very mild cough that may be mistaken as a viral respiratory illness,” the news release said.

Vaccination is the best prevention against pertussis, the news release said, and a booster vaccine called Tdap is available for teenagers and adults.

“The sooner you are seen a by healthcare provider, the sooner you can be diagnosed and treated,” Dr. David Flinders, UCHD’s Medical Director, wrote in the news release. “The sooner that diagnosis and treatment begins, the better our chances are of limiting the spread of disease in the community, if it is pertussis, or something else.”