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Posts Tagged ‘Whooping Cough’

Whooping Cough Could be The Worst Epidemic in 50 Years

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Department of Health Services (DSHS) projections show the number of people who will get sick with Pertussis (Whooping Cough) this year could reach its highest level in more than 50 years. A bacterial infection that often starts with cold-like symptoms and a mild cough, Pertussis produces severe coughing that can last for several weeks. Coughing fits may be followed by vomiting or a “whooping” sound, which is why the disease is also called “whooping cough.”

What may seem like the start of a common cold could be the serious symptoms of whooping cough. At the start, typical symptoms of pertussis include runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and possibly mild cough or fever. But, after 1-2 weeks of these symptoms, severe coughing can begin and continue for weeks. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, which tends to produce a “whooping” sound between coughs, although this sound can be absent or minimal in infants.

Infectious Disease Medical Officer for the Texas Department of Health Services, Dr. Lisa Cornelius, said the situation is alarming. “Pertussis is highly infectious and can cause serious complications, especially in babies. So people should take it seriously.”

The reported incidence of infant pertussis in the United States has increased almost 17 times since 1979. More than 2,000 pertussis cases have been reported in the United States so far this year. Health officials predict the total number of cases will eventually surpass the previous high of 3,358 cases, reported in 2009.

To better protect babies, pregnant women should consider being vaccinated during every pregnancy—preferably between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. This helps protect the baby before he or she can start the vaccination series at 2 months old and helps keep the mother from getting sick and infecting the baby. Fathers, siblings, extended family members, medical providers and others who will be around newborns should also be vaccinated. One of the reasons the incidences of Whooping Cough have increased is because people are opting to keep their kids from getting the Tdap booster. This could be a costly mistake.

Many babies get whooping cough from adults or older brothers or sisters who don’t even know they have been infected with the disease. While symptoms are usually milder in teens and adults, pertussis can be life threatening for babies because of the risk of apnea, an interruption in breathing. Pertussis spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. People with pertussis are most contagious while they have cold-like symptoms and during the first two weeks after they start coughing.

Anyone with an unexplained, prolonged cough or who has had close contact with a person with pertussis should contact their health care provider. Early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the contagious period. Doctors who suspect a pertussis infection are required to report it to their local health department within one working day. Patients who have pertussis should not go back to work or school until they’ve completed five days of antibiotic treatment.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES.

Be Safe: The Threat of Whooping Cough

Monday, June 27th, 2011
Nurse preparing a vaccine

The best way to prevent Whooping Cough is to be vaccinated.

A disease that reached near extinction in the industrialized world, Pertussis, or Whooping Cough, is making a comeback in schools and other facilities in the United States. Highly infectious, Whooping Cough is resistant to antibiotics and can quickly spread through schools or office facilities that contain lots of individuals working or living in cramped quarters.

Some school districts are mandating proof of Whooping Cough vaccination before students can be admitted to attend classes. In California, a state law mandates that students going into 7th through 9th grade receive booster vaccinations before the fall semester. To explain the requirement, officials point to the 8,000 California-based cases and 10 infant deaths that were reported in 2010.

Dangers associated with Whooping Cough:

  • Most Whooping Cough deaths in the United States occur in infants. Severe Pneumonia, dehydration, and ear infections can all lead to mortality. Antibiotics can shorten the duration of the virus, but by no means cure the disease.
  • For many older children, vaccinations are mandatory, as they prevent the infection from spreading to young siblings and friends.
  • Violent coughing in kids and adults can result in cracked ribs or abdominal hernias.

Symptoms of Whooping Cough mirror those of a severe cold, making diagnosis difficult. Early symptoms include coughing, runny nose and a mild fever. After one or two weeks, symptoms usually worsen to include high fever, extreme fatigue and the telltale “whoop” noise cough.

To combat the further spread of Whooping Cough, many government agencies are aggressively pushing for vaccination. The dTAP and DPT vaccines have been used for years to beat Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus and are vital to stopping a Pertussis epidemic.

Information about the various vaccines:

  • DTP is the older version of the vaccine which is used in some countries but has been phased out of the United States.
  • DtAP is the most current vaccine recommended by the CDC for anyone seven years of age and younger.
  • tDAP is the booster shot given to older children to ensure they remain protected from Whooping Cough.
  • The CDC strongly recommends inoculations for anyone who is pregnant.
  • All of the vaccines have been proven safe, with minimal reported side effects including redness at the inoculation area and slight fever. Links between vaccinations and Autism or other behavioral issues have been discredited. And, in fact, some contend that this type of unsubstantiated fear have contributed to the Whooping Cough resurgence.
  • Many health care facilities and some drug stores offer the vaccine at minimal cost or even for free.

Vaccinations provide immense benefits for the health of the general public. Diseases such as Measles, Mumps and Rubella are nearing extinction due to the adoption of safe and convenient vaccinations.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Facts About the Cholera Epidemic

Monday, November 1st, 2010
Cholera Bacteria Images

Find out the facts about the Cholera Epidemic

The recent outbreak in Haiti has put Cholera into the spotlight. With more than 150 individuals dead, the epidemic has spread rapidly throughout the nation, which was ravaged by an earthquake in January, 2010. Prior to this outbreak, the disease had not been seen in Haiti since the early 20th century.

In this blog post, we will explore the deadly disease and discuss how outbreaks can occur.

The Facts about Cholera:

  • Cholera is a gastrointestinal infection caused by the Vibrio Cholerae bacterium which infects the small intestine and causes massive watery diarrhea, resulting in extreme dehydration.
  • It is endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
  • The first pandemic of the disease occurred from 1816 to 1826 in India, killing millions.
  • The disease is a major cause of death throughout the world.
  • Typical mortality rates with prompt treatment are less than 1%, but spike to 50% if left untreated.

How do people get Cholera and why does it spread?

  • It is transmitted via the fecal-oral route, typically through consumption of contaminated water or food.
  • Direct person-to-person transmission is unlikely, but does take place.
  • In developing countries such as Haiti, the water sanitation infrastructure is severely lacking. Residents are too often forced to retrieve water from natural sources such as rivers which are easily contaminated.

What is being done in Haiti?

  • Charities and sponsoring corporations are working together to produce facilities that produce 10,000 gallons of fresh, clean water each day.
  • Oral Rehydration Therapy is the main form of treatment for Cholera.
  • Healthcare workers in the infected Artibonite Region are distributing information about the importance of hand-washing and drinking only treated-water.
  • Authorities at the Pan American Health Organization say it is too late to administer the Cholera vaccine, as 80% of the population is already carrying the disease.
  • Health aides are being set up in many communities to help prevent outbreaks through use of fast antibiotic and rehydration therapies.

A disease or condition is considered an “outbreak” when it reaches more cases than typical during a certain amount of time. The Cholera crisis in Haiti has been termed an “outbreak” because of the extreme number of cases as well as the time elapsed since the disease was last identified en masse in the country. Outbreaks of various diseases occur regularly. For example, Californians currently have a Whooping Cough problem and Brazilians have developed Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

Disease outbreaks and natural disasters require similar response methods. Both require proper planning and prevention. But when, despite our best efforts disaster strikes, then an organized and informed response is the best way to control the damage.

For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.