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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)



Pertussis is certainly making the news lately, as it is reported in areas across the country. As many as 40 confirmed cases have been reported in York County alone. Pertussis is challenging to diagnose. It starts out very similar to a common cold or upper respiratory illness. It may also mimic allergy symptoms that are common this time of the year. Pertussis is highly contagious, especially in infants and young children - and seems to cluster among close contacts. Even more unsettling, many of the positive cases we seen have been up to date with their vaccinations to protect against pertussis!

Hand hygiene is always so important! Wash your hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Nurses coming in contact with patients with upper respiratory symptoms should use a mask as a protective barrier.


Signs & Symptoms of Pertussis:

Early signs (last 1-2 weeks):

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Pauses in breathing (apnea) in infants

Signs during disease progression:

  • Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs, followed by high-pitch "whoops"
  • Vomiting
  • Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits

Coughing fits normally last 1-6 weeks, but can last for up to 10 weeks.

Visit the CDC's website to learn more about Pertussis at www.cdc.gov/pertussis. You may also visit www.whoopingcough.net for more information.


Find a Pertussis Vaccination Clinic near you:

Immunization Clinics for York City residents - Call York City Bureau of Health at 717-849-2299 or 717-815-0910 for clinic times and to schedule an appointment.

York City Bureau of Health
435 W. Philadelphia Street
York, PA 17401

Immunization Clinics for Non-York City residents - Call York County State Health Center at 717-771-4505 for clinic times and to schedule an appointment.

York County State Health Center
1750 North George Street
York, PA 17404


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