Website Header 4.18.17

Health Alert – CCHHS is currently investigating an outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in Carson City, Douglas, and Lyon counties. If you believe that you or someone in your family has been exposed to pertussis, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.

It is important that all members of your family are vaccinated against pertussis to protect young babies that may not be fully vaccinated against the illness. For more information about getting vaccinated, contact your immunization provider or visit one of the following locations:

Carson City Health & Human Services
900 East Long Street, Carson City, NV, 89706
Walk-in immunizations are available every Thursday from 8:30-11:30am & 1:00-4:30pm.
Call (775) 887-2195 for more information.

Dayton Community Health Clinic
5 Pine Cone Road, Suite 103, Dayton, NV, 89403
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00am-5:00pm, Closed for Lunch from 12:00-1:00pm.
Call (775) 246-6211 for more information.

Douglas County Community Health
1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, NV, 89410
Walk-in immunizations are available every Monday from 1:00-4:00pm.
Call (775) 782-9038 for more information.

Fernley Community Health Clinic
555 E. Main Street, Fernley, NV, 89408
Hours: Monday to Thursday 7:00am-5:30pm, Closed for Lunch from 12:30-1:00pm.
Call (775) 575-3363 for more information.

Yerington Community Health Clinic
26 Nevin Way, Yerington, NV, 89447
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00am-4:30pm
Call (775) 463-6539 for more information.

What is pertussis (whooping cough)?

Pertussis, also known as whopping cough, is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacteria, Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria attach to little hairs, cilia, in the respiratory system, and they release toxins that damage the cilia and cause airways to swell.

How is pertussis spread?

Pertussis is spread through person-to-person contact, usually through coughing or sneezing in a common breathing space. Parents, older siblings, and caregivers may pass the disease on to infants without knowing they are infected.

Who is at risk for pertussis?

Children, teens, and adults can all get pertussis, but pertussis is most dangerous for babies. About 50% of babies with pertussis will need to be hospitalized.

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

Early symptoms include:

  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Mild cough
  • Apnea – a pause in breathing

Many people mistake early symptoms of pertussis for the common cold, so diagnoses usually occurs once severe symptoms begin to occur.

After 1-2 weeks, later-stage symptoms begin to occur:

  • Rapid coughing fits followed by a “whoop” sound
  • Vomiting during coughing fits
  • Exhaustion after coughing fits
  • Babies may not cough at all. Instead, they may stop breathing and turn blue.

Recovery may be slow. Coughing and respiratory infections can last for months.

What are complications associated with pertussis?

Pertussis is more severe for babies, especially if they are not fully vaccinated. About 50% of babies less than a year old will require hospitalization. Of those hospitalized:

  • 1 in 4 will get pneumonia
  • 1 in 100 will have convulsions
  • 3 in 5 will have apnea
  • 1 in 300 will get brain disease
  • 1 in 100 will die

Adults and teens can also experience complications, but they are less severe. Only about 20% of adults and teens will need to be hospitalized. About 1 in 50 of those patients will get pneumonia. Other complications include:

  • Weight loss in 1 in 3 adults
  • Loss of bladder control in 1 in 3 adults
  • Passing out in 3 of 50 adults
  • Rib fractures from coughing in 1 in 25 adults

How can I prevent pertussis?

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated and stay away from infected people. DTap is a vaccine that prevents diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis. A booster shot, Tdap, should be given to teens and adults every 10 years, as the DTap vaccine can wear out over time.

If you are pregnant, you should get a Tdap vaccine to protect your baby. Anybody that will be in close contact with your baby should also be fully vaccinated before the baby is born. Keep your baby away from sick people or people that are not vaccinated to reduce the chances of them getting pertussis.

Information for Parents and Day Care Providers

CCHHS Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Fact Sheet
CCHHS Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Fact Sheet SPANISH
Letter from County Health Officers to Parents and Day Care Providers – April 11, 2017 – Recommendation for Revised Immunization Schedule

Press Releases and Articles

April 11, 2017 – ARTICLE – Whooping Cough: A True Story – Jazzlyn’s Story
March 29, 2017 – PRESS RELEASE – Get Vaccomated Against Pertussis – Help Build Community Immunity
March 28, 2017 – PRESS RELEASE – Health Alert: Pertussis (Whooping Cough) in Carson City/Douglas County

Information for Healthcare Providers

CCHHS Technical Bulletin for Clinicians – Health Advisory: Positive Pertussis in Carson City, Douglas and Lyon Counties – UPDATED: April 18, 2017

For more information on pertussis, click here.