DCHD Advises Residents About the Spread of Pertussis

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Released: April 15, 2024

DCHD Advises Residents About the Spread of Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

The Delaware County Health Department reminds residents that cases of Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is rising again in our area. It is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be serious, especially for infants and young children.

Symptoms can begin like the common cold with the development of a high-pitched “whoop” sound when inhaling at the end of a coughing fit.

Pertussis cases increase every 4-6 years, and the current increase is following that trend here in Delaware County and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Although cases are currently being seen primarily among high school students, the potential for exposure to vulnerable populations exists.

The CDC recommends active screening (testing) for potential cases in schools, childcare centers, and hospitals in order to reduce exposure to people with whooping cough. DCHD encourages timely medical evaluation and treatment of people with whooping cough and the use of antibiotics for high-risk close contacts.

In addition to these measures, the DCHD strongly advises residents to ensure their vaccinations are up to date to help prevent the spread of pertussis. Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against this infection, particularly for young children, pregnant women, and those who have close contact with infants. The pertussis vaccine, part of the DTaP immunization for children and the Tdap booster for adolescents and adults, is available at local health providers and pharmacies.

If you are uninsured or underinsured, please reach out to the Delaware County Health Department Wellness Line at (484) 276-2100 (or by email at DelcoWellness@co.delaware.pa.us ) to determine your eligibility and schedule an appointment for a free vaccine.

We urge everyone, especially parents and caregivers, to verify their family's vaccination records and consider vaccination if not already protected.

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Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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