WOODSTOCK IL Since McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) first announced 8 cases of pertussis or whooping cough on October 14, the outbreak has risen to 121 cases in 5 weeks ranging in age from 3 months to 37 years old in 13 communities. Twenty-nine (29) schools, from elementary, middle, high school and college age, have reported cases. With the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday when families travel to see loved ones, the potential to spread whooping cough to young and old alike is of real concern. MCDH urges residents to take precautions and protect family members through th prevention, vaccination and complying with physician treatment regime. A 4 walk-in vaccination st clinic has been scheduled for Thurs, December 1, from 11am-1pm, at McHenry County College (in the Commons area), 8900 Northwest Highway, Crystal Lake. Dominick’s Pharmacy and primary care physicians also offer the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses the importance of a pertussis booster for those aged 11 to 64 and those 65+ who are caregivers for young children. The cost of the vaccine at the December clinic is $50. Medicaid is accepted for individuals aged 11-18; must present Medicaid card. The vaccine is $15 for those aged 11-18 who are uninsured or underinsured, and uninsured adults aged 19 and older who meet income requirements. In addition, 11-18 year olds must be accompanied by a parent; bring current vaccination record. High risk populations include infants-young children (birth-5 years old) who may not be fully vaccinated, children who didn’t receive a booster shot, those who are immune compromised and older adults.
Pertussis is highly contagious and easily spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sneezing and low-grade fever can last several weeks and lead to complications like pneumonia, encephalitis or pulmonary hypertension. Frequent hand washing, covering the mouth, coughing into tissues and staying home when ill are important McHenry County Department of Health practices to limit the spread of infection. Returning to school/work prior to completing the five (5) day treatment regime could allow pertussis to spread.
For more information on pertussis, visit www.mcdh.info or call MCDH at 815-334-4510.