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Officials investigate whooping cough outbreak in Presque Isle County

PRESQUE ISLE — District Health Department No. 4 is investigating six confirmed cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in Presque Isle County.

The Health Department says any close contacts of people sick with whooping cough should receive prophylactic antibiotics, even if those contacts have other immunizations.

Whooping cough is a common disease in the U.S. and considered preventable through vaccination, but it can cause serious illness in infants, children, and adults. Officials said the disease starts out as a common cold, but can become a series of coughing fits after one to two weeks.

“The best way to protect young infants is to ensure everyone around them is vaccinated,” Dr. Joshua Meyerson, District Health Department NO. 4 medical director, said in a press release. “Make sure all adults coming near an infant have been immunized with Tdap, a vaccine to prevent pertussis. Make sure young children receive all five recommended doses of DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine between the ages of 2 months and 6 years.”

Tdap vaccines are booster doses of the vaccine usually administered in children and adults, starting at 11 years of age.

The Health Department offers Tdap and DTaP vaccines in all of its clinics in Northeast Michigan. Health Department officials said Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance are accepted, and those without health insurance may qualify for reduced rates for both vaccines.

Cathy Goike, health education specialist of the Health Department, said it’s hard to predict whether the outbreak of whooping cough cases will spread to other counties, but said it’s best to stay cautious and follow simple sanitary procedures to prevent any spread of the disease.

The best way to prevent the spread is to wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth when sneezing, and to stay home from school or work when sick.

For more information, visit dhd4.org.

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