Pertussis outbreak grows

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat /

A pertussis, or whooping cough, outbreak in Tuolumne County continues to grow.

Tuolumne County Health Officer Dr. Todd Stolp said Tuesday there are now eight confirmed cases and eight probable cases of the disease in the county - mostly school children.

That's up from five root cases last week, when the county Public Health Department issued a warning, urging citizens to get themselves and their children vaccinated and be extra cautious with respiratory illness symptoms.

The disease is believed to have spread to five county schools now - including one preschool and a high school.

Whooping cough consists of fairly typical upper respiratory ailment symptoms, but is signified by long fits of violent coughing and a very long-lasting residual cough. It is named for the sound some victims make when finally breathing in again after a long fit of coughing.

The disease is of concern because it tends to spread around young children, some of whom are at increased vulnerability - such as babies under 1 year old, who can die from it, Stolp said. Pregnant mothers and children with chronic respiratory ailments like asthma are also at increased risk.

The Public Health Department aims to buffer these populations by urging those around them - like parents - to be vaccinated.

For the complete story, see the May 14, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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