Pertussis outbreak

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    Am going to post this here in the hopes that someone has some more info for me. Our small rural school is having a pertussis outbreak. So far there are over 35 confirmed cases in our school district. I am an RN who has very little peds experience, but am dismayed at the lack of response to this.

    Am I being super paranoid thinking that more should be done??? The county health dept nurse told me they are going to clean school after state exams and finals and hopes "things will die down over summer". Isn't this a poor response to an infectious and dangerous disease.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

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    It's scary that diseases like this can still cause outbreaks when there is a readily available vaccine. At the risk of starting up yet another vaccine debate, I'm going to say that this is what happens when people listen to people who know nothing, like Jenny McCarthy, instead of true epidemiologists, when it comes to vaccinations and disease.

    There was a time, not too long ago, when people died from this disease. The elderly and newborns are still very much at risk. It's sad to me the anti-vaccine people are risking vulnerable persons in the population on junk non-science.
    Beckworth and lindarn like this.
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    The nurses in your community (particularly the county health department nurse!) should be working to educate the public about the availability and safety of available vaccines. I've heard that a big part of the problem is that few people have any experience with so many of these devastating and very preventable diseases. When these vaccines were created I'm sure people were scrambling to get their kids vaccinated and they are probably MUCH safer now than they were then.
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    In your post at 0826 you said there were 48 cases of pertussis and now there are 35. Pertussis outbreaks occur across the country every year. Once infected the cough can persist for months.

    The CDC estimates that there are epidemic outbreaks every 3-5 years. CDC - Pertussis: Outbreaks

    Localized outbreaks of pertussis are not uncommon and occur throughout the year. Some examples of pertussis activity in the US include:
    • In Washington, there have been 2,092 cases reported statewide through June 5, 2012, compared to 164 reported cases in 2011 during the same time period. There were 965 cases reported statewide in 2011 compared to 608 reported cases in 2010. Visit the Washington State Department of Health for the most recent information.
    • In 2010, 9,143 cases of pertussis (including ten infant deaths) were reported throughout California. This is the most cases reported in 63 years when 9,394 cases were reported in 1947 and the highest incidence in 52 years when a rate of 26.0 cases/100,000 was reported in 1958. Previously, the peak was in 2005 when there were 3,182 cases reported. In 2011, disease activity was at relatively increased levels throughout the state. Visit the California Department of Public Health website for the most recent information.
    The treatment is with antibiotics and a good cleaning. Outbreaks at middle and high schools can occur as protection from childhood vaccines fades. In school outbreaks, prophylaxis is recommended for close classroom and team contacts — and the pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) depending on age. Pertussis outbreaks in hospitals and other clinical settings can put infants and other patients at risk.

    The Tdap is about 80% effective against infection in infants and children and about 70% effective in adults. It doesn't necessarily prevent infection but will produce a mild form.
    CDC - Pertussis (Whooping Cough) homepage


    Vaccines and Preventable Diseases:
    Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Vaccination
    Pronounced (per-TUS-iss)

    Vaccines: VPD-VAC/Pertussis/main page

    I hope this helps.
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    Thank you it helps some. The numbers are conflicting one nurse in hs said 48 then on tv the superintendent of schools said 35. Most of th
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    Most of these children that are positive for purtussis have had tdap going into sixth and seventh. I am wondering if we are seeing a mutated strain dt parents that held off on vaccinations.

    My frustration is that there is very little communication and all we hear is there are nys state tests and finals. Three teams who went to sectionals in our region had the majority of the first cases. Shouldn't those schools know about the fact they were exposed??
    moonchild86 likes this.
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    Quote from zumalong

    My frustration is that there is very little communication and all we hear is there are nys state tests and finals. Three teams who went to sectionals in our region had the majority of the first cases. Shouldn't those schools know about the fact they were exposed??
    The other schools probably have been informed. The public health network is generally a tight community and are very good at talking to one and other. The fact that you are unaware if other schools were informed does not mean that they were not. There is a ton of public health work that goes on very quietly behind the scenes that people are totally unaware of. There are laws regarding notification and I am sure those laws have been followed.

    It seems unlikely that you are seeing a mutated strain- as the testing done would have identified anything unusual. Most likely this is an outbreak, which happens sporadically. Pertussis is endemic in the US. It is not considered eliminated. Here CDC - Pertussis: Outbreaks is some information regarding pertussis and outbreaks. Because Pertussis is reportable to the CDC, your Health dept has already been in contact with them.

    Influenza also has periodic outbreaks in students. I wonder if you would be as alarmed at an Influenza outbreak, or if this is more foreign because it is Pertussis.
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    Thank you for info. I would be alarmed if flu, but would at least
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    Sorry hit wrong key. I would be alarmed with flu but would expect to hear flu. Never expected to hear pertussis. Did not realize it was going around. Thanks to all who took time to answer my posts
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    As many of the posts have said there are outbreaks every year and are common amongst the late middle/high school years for lessened immunity and that is why they have to have booster immunizations.


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