Pertussis, also known as a cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a type of bacteria. It can affect people of all ages, but it can be very serious, even fatal, for babies less than a year old.
Symptoms of pertussis may occur differently and be less severe in vaccinated individuals, but may still be contagious.
- Pertussis is known for an uncontrolled, violent cough that often complicates breathing. After coughing, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, resulting in a "great" sound.
- Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5 to 10 days after exposure. Sometimes the symptoms of pertussis do not develop for up to 3 weeks.
- Disease usually begins with symptoms similar to cold, and possibly with a mild cough or fever. In babies, the cough may be minimal or non-existent.
- Early symptoms may last 1 to 2 weeks and usually include runny nose, low-grade fever, mild, occasional cough or apnea – breathing breaks (in babies)
- Pertussis in the early stages does not seem to be anything more than a common cold.
Symptoms at a later stage
- After 1 to 2 weeks and as the disease progresses, traditional symptoms of pertussis may occur and include the adjustment of many, rapid coughs followed by a high drunken sound, which is flushed during or after coughing and exhaustion.
Pertussis in babies
- It's important to know that many babies with pertussis do not cough at all. Instead, they cause them to stop breathe and to breathe.
How and when to get help
- If you have symptoms of pertussis, see your provider instantly.
- If you or a family member is identified as exposed, you will receive instructions from the Department of Health.
- The best way to protect yourself from pertussis is to get vaccinated. Make sure you and your family are updated for your immunizations.
- If you need information about your immunization status, contact your provider or health department.
Need to be vaccinated?
The Missoula County Health Department, located at 301 West Alder St., carries the Pertussis (DTaP & Tdap) vaccine and can cover most insurance plans, including Medicaid. They offer a scroll scale for those who are uninsured or uncertain.
For more information, contact the Immunization Clinic at 406-258-3363. The clinic offers a walk in the following times: 9 am to 4:30 pm. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
10:00 to 4:30. Wednesday.
If you have not been contacted by the Department of Health, no action is needed at this time. If you have further questions, please contact (406) 258-INFO.