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Pertussis Information

According to the PA Department of Health, a person diagnosed with pertussis who is taking antibiotic prophylaxis and are symptom free, can attend school – no exclusions. If it is suspected that someone may have or been in close contact with someone with pertussis, they should see their doctor and take the appropriate precautions. Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include: runny nose, low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease), mild, occasional cough, and apnea – a pause in breathing (in infants). Because pertussis in its early stages appears to be nothing more than the common cold, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear. Infected people are most contagious during this time, up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Antibiotics may shorten the amount of time someone is contagious.

About pertussis: It is an infection of the respiratory system and is characterized by severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping" sound when the person breathes in. The pertussis vaccine is recommended for children to enter school. Because immunity from the vaccine fades over time, most adolescents and adults are susceptible to the disease. In addition to the typical childhood series of pertussis immunizations at 2, 4, 6, 15-18 months and a booster at 4-6 years, the Department of Health recommends the adolescent-adult pertussis vaccine, Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis, or Tdap, booster for: individuals 10-64 years of age who are not fully immunized; women of childbearing age, before or immediately after pregnancy; people who have contact with pregnant women or infants too young to have received a full series of vaccinations; and all family members and caregivers of infants.

PA Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control
For additional information, contact the PA Department of Health at (877) PA-HEALTH or the Centers for Disease Control at (800) CDC-INFO .

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