One case of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, was confirmed on February 7, 2018 in a Watauga County Schools student attending Watauga High School.

School and health officials report the individual diagnosed with pertussis is being treated, per guidelines established by the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control, and is fully cooperating in following isolation instructions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.

The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated.

Please be sure each of your own family-household members, especially infants and young children, are up to date on their immunizations. If you or your family members have a chronic health condition that might increase the risk of a respiratory infection, please seek advice from your health care provider whether or not precautionary antibiotics might be recommended.

Watauga County Schools and AppHealthCare are working closely together with school and community partners. “We appreciate the partnership with Watauga County Schools and their quick action to notify families. This is a good reminder to make sure your family is up-to-date on their immunizations” said Jennifer Greene, Health Director.

The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among babies, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep babies and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people. In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for babies and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that helps protect against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.

AppHealthCare, the local health department, urges community members to check with their primary care physician about their current immunization records, to ensure they have the recommended vaccinations. Immunizations are available through primary care providers and the Watauga office of AppHealthCare at (828) 264-4995.