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Health officials promote vaccination to combat ‘alarming’ rise in pertussis cases

| April 19, 2023

DOVER (WJER) (April 19, 2023) – The Tuscarawas County Health Department is warning everyone about a recent spike in Whooping Cough infections.

Director of Nursing Amy Kaser says there were six confirmed and two probable pertussis cases in the county between February 1st and last Wednesday, compared to four confirmed cases for all of 2022. There is a vaccine for the bacterial disease that Kaser says is highly contagious and can cause serious and even life-threatening complications. However, the individuals they know of who’ve been infected in recent weeks didn’t get it. 

“So we just want to make sure individuals know that this is something that you can have a lot of protection against, and hopefully if you did receive the vaccine you will have less symptoms and hopefully not get it at all or protect the individuals around you who are unable to get the vaccine for whatever reason.”

Kaser says pertussis symptoms can mimic those of the common cold and include a high-pitched cough that can last for weeks or even months without treatment.

“Sometimes, these symptoms don’t develop for up to three weeks, so somebody can be contagious for a while. That’s why it’s very important, as well, that if you think you have Whooping Couth that you go to your doctor, that you go on an antibiotic and take the antibiotic as prescribed because it does lessen the severity and it does lessen how long you’re contagious to other people.”  

The county health department offers the initial vaccine series and boosters for kids and adults by appointment. For more information or to schedule, call 330-343-5555 extension 1740. 

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