What's Going Around 7-6

By: Melanie Lofton Email
By: Melanie Lofton Email

In this week's What's Going Around, there's a dangerous disease that's already hit several children in the southern portion of the Valley.

Augusta Health Infection Control Coordinator Carolyn Palmer, says they had a case of pertussis or whooping cough over the weekend. What's more alarming is Dr. Steven Mumbauer at Valley Pediatric Group says this week, they've had two children test positive for this disease.

The CDC describes it as a very contagious illness that can be serious for anyone, but deadly for newborns and infants.

"The incubation period is such a long time before it comes out verses some others that it looks like it's over and then it comes back again.. so it's just a matter of going through the cycle" says Eugene Kotalka, with Orange County public schools where they had an outbreak.

Whooping cough causes prolonged coughing spells that can last several weeks. These spells can make it difficult for a person to eat, drink, and breathe. Since vomiting often occurs after a coughing spell, you could lose weight and become dehydrated.

In infants, it can also cause pneumonia and lead to brain damage, seizures, and mental retardation. Though children are vaccinated for pertussis as infants, their immunity can start to wear off as they age. It's one of the reasons the CDC and several local doctors recommend a booster shot. If you're concerned about whooping cough, or have more questions contact your physician.

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