County Confirms First Local Whooping Cough Case Since 2016

Humboldt County public health officials are on alert after a Eureka teenager tested positive for the highly contagious whooping cough earlier this week.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, a follow up investigation identified 40 people who may have had contact with the teenager while he or she was contagious.

Officially known as pertussis, whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection that can cause serious health risks for people of all ages, with infants at the greatest risk.

“About half of infants diagnosed with pertussis will be hospitalized, so it’s critically important that pregnant women are vaccinated during their third trimester to provide newborns with maternal antibodies,” said Public Health Supervising Communicable Disease Nurse Hava Phillips.

The infection typically begins with common cold-like symptoms but can progress to severe coughing fits.

The county had an outbreak back in 2014, when more than 190 cases were confirmed, according to the press release. This is the first local case reported since 2016.

The California Department of Health recommends children be vaccinated for pertussis and that anyone over the age of 11 get a booster shot, if they have not received one.

See the full press release from the county copied below:

Health & Human Services officials urge vaccination
in wake of new pertussis case

Public Health officials were notified late Wednesday that a Eureka teen has tested positive for pertussis, also known as whooping cough, which is a highly contagious respiratory disease.

In a follow-up investigation, communicable disease staff identified 40 possible contacts during the patient’s contagious period. All are now being notified.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pertussis is a cyclical bacterial infection that peaks every three to five years. Immunity, whether from getting the vaccine or from having the disease, typically wears off within five years, leaving previously immune children susceptible again by adolescence.

“Even if the CDC vaccination schedule is closely followed it still sometimes falls short for pertussis in particular, due in part to waning immunity,” said Public Health Supervising Communicable Disease Nurse Hava Phillips.

During a 2014 outbreak in Humboldt County, there were over 190 confirmed cases of pertussis. Statewide in 2014, more than 11,000 Californians tested positive. More than 9,000…

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