Missoula County is currently experiencing a pertussis outbreak. Pertussis is a respiratory disease that is diagnosed using a laboratory test and is treated with antibiotics.
Current Counts for Missoula County
The Health Department is working closely with schools to identify close contacts of confirmed cases.
If you have not been contacted by the Health Department, and you (or your child) are not symptomatic, no action is needed at this time. The Health Department will contact you with instructions if you need to take action or will send information home with your child.
PROTECT YOURSELF BY ENSURING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE VACCINATED!
The Health Department does not treat or test for pertussis.
If you are having symptoms, see your healthcare provider or go to an urgent care walk-in clinic right away to get tested and treated.
Pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms:
- runny nose
- mild occasional cough
- low-grade fever.
Later symptoms include persistent cough with fits of coughing severe enough that exhaustion, vomiting, or a whooping sound may occur as the patient is trying to catch their breath.
Symptoms can be more severe in unvaccinated individuals, babies less than a year old and those with compromised immune systems.
Some people are at higher risk for complications from pertussis, including:
HIGH RISK INDIVIDUALS:
- Infants 12 months or age and younger
- People with underlying respiratory or cardiovascular conditions
- People whose immune systems are compromised
- Pregnant women
If you or someone in your household is high-risk based on these criteria, please contact your health care provider now to discuss a preventive course of antibiotics to keep you from developing pertussis; do not wait for symptoms to appear.
It is important to know that many babies with pertussis don’t cough at all. Instead it causes them to stop breathing and turn blue.
PERTUSSIS IN BABIES:
PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY!
The best protection is immunization. Check that you are up to date on your pertussis vaccine (DTaP & Tdap). If you need a vaccine, contact your healthcare provider or use the MCCHD immunization clinic.
The MCCHD Immunization Clinic can help you get vaccinated!
PREVENT THE SPREAD
Like many respiratory illnesses, pertussis spreads by coughing and sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the bacteria. CDC recommends practicing good hygiene to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses. To practice good hygiene you should:
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Put your used tissue in the waste basket.
- Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you don’t have a tissue.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS & DAYCARES:
SCHOOL EXCLUSION REQUIREMENTS for Pertussis (revised 5/17/2019)
RESOURCES FOR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS:
see the Infectious Disease page for providers