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Pertussis Cases Rise In South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 16, 2018

CONTACT: Joshua Clayton (Joshua.Clayton@state.sd.us), (605) 773-3737 



Pertussis Cases Rise In South Dakota


PIERRE, S.D. – Recent reports of community increases in pertussis have the Department of Heath reminding parents to make sure their kids are appropriately immunized.


Since the beginning of the year, 90 cases of pertussis have been reported to the Health Department. This is the highest number reported since 2014 when the state saw 109 pertussis cases. Counties seeing the most cases include Edmunds (19), Brown (15), Minnehaha (13), and Hughes (12).


“Pertussis is a very serious illness so it is important to take precautions like ensuring you and your children are current with all recommended vaccines,” said Dr. Joshua Clayton, state epidemiologist for the department.


Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread from person to person through the air by the cough of an infected person. Early symptoms resemble a common cold, including sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough. Within two weeks, the cough becomes more severe and is characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched whoop. Thick, clear mucus may be discharged following the cough. Coughing episodes may recur for one to two months, and are more frequent at night.


While it can affect people of any age, it is most severe in babies under 6 months old, especially in preterm and unvaccinated infants. The elderly are also at risk. The single most effective control measure is maintaining the highest possible level of immunization in the community. The vaccine is given in a series of doses at 2, 4, 6 and 15 months of age and at 4–6 years of age. Because immunity wanes over time, a booster dose is recommended for adolescents, 11-12 years of age, and for adults.


Treatment with antibiotics can shorten the contagious period. People who have been in contact with an infected person should see their clinician for evaluation and to receive antibiotics if they have symptoms of pertussis or are at high risk of developing pertussis. People at high risk of developing pertussis following exposure to a pertussis case include household contacts, infants, pregnant women in their third trimester, and persons with pre-existing health conditions.


People not having symptoms and not at high risk of developing pertussis should monitor themselves for respiratory symptoms for 21 days. To prevent the spread of disease, people with pertussis or their symptomatic contacts may be isolated at home. More information about pertussis and its control can be found on the department’s website at http://doh.sd.gov/diseases/infectious/diseasefacts/Pertussis.aspx.



Preventing and controlling infectious disease is one objective of the Department of Health’s 2015-2020 strategic plan, http://doh.sd.gov/strategicplan.


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