Saturday, October 13, 2007

Whoopin' It Up!

Pertussis has been making its rounds up here in Alaska. My brother Don and his wife are just getting over it but Edna, Don's wife is still battling with the very overwhelming whooping cough. My youngest brother Mark had it after attending a conference in Kodiak where he believes he was exposed to the bacterial infection.

Whooping Cough Cases Climb in Alaska. Medpage Today (From 2005) "The incidence of pertussis is four times higher in the state this year than in 2004, including a rise among adults, although improved diagnostic specificity may explain some of it."

Whooping cough made the news here in Alaska in 2006. It showed up in an eight week old baby girl from a Southwest village. I remember this is about the same time our little Raegan Mae was sick and Karla was concerned she may have the whooping cough. She was checked out to be okay. Tundra Medicine Dreams did a great write about this outbreak in our coastal village.

I thought that "the hundred day cough" was eradicated in the United States. Apparently not, since I've read several sites claiming an outbreak of this sickness in recent years, with each following year the disease is increasingly reported.

The illness, caused by a bacterial infection, is characterized by coughing spells lasting several seconds. The coughing fits are followed by a "whooping" sound as the person struggles to inhale and may cause vomiting or choking.

Whooping cough can last for weeks and lead to pneumonia and seizures. It is most dangerous in infants and young children. From ( Stanislaus County Health Services Agency.

Whooping Cough No Cause For Alarm - Mount Mercy Times, A Student Publication (PDF file). "Most people are vaccinated against the disease as children, but the immunization usually wears off by adulthood. Adults and unvaccinated children can harbor the pertussis bacteria for up to three weeks before showing symptoms."

From April 3, 2007, Study Finds Parents Pass Whooping Cough to Babies, The New York Times. A collection of whooping cough information, including New Booster Vaccine Urged To Fight Whooping Cough.

Whooping cough is most contagious before the coughing begins. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information about the pertussis vaccination and booster vaccination for adults.

After doing some study on this disease I disagree with whomever wrote the article "Whooping Cough No Cause For Alarm," because this cough is something no one should get! It sounds horrible and it begins as a common cold/sore throat then progresses to the violent cough. One is treated with antibiotics in an effort to get rid of it. See from this picture of the child how violent the cough can be even causing broken blood vessels under the eyes.

Hopefully Mom was not exposed to pertussis, I would hate for her to get so sick with coughing.

Please pray that this cough was not passed on to Mom and also pray for my brother Don's wife Edna. She is still struggling with this and is not well yet. Don and Edna have a Christian ministry with the Native peoples of Alaska and work with them via the Anchorage Native New Life Fellowship in Anchorage.

And remember, wash your hands and one should stay home if not well.


Constance said...

That is nothing to mess with! I have to have a flu shot every year and a booster for my pnumonia (sp?) shot every few years since having my spleen removed. My FIL who has terrible emphysema has to be ultra careful about exposure as well. Will pray for your family!


Wow! I didn't realize that was still a problem these days. I sure will be praying for those who have it and those trying to get over it. connie from Texas