Mahomet children with whooping cough had been vaccinated; booster urged for adolescents

Mahomet children with whooping cough had been vaccinated; booster urged for adolescents

MAHOMET — All four children sickened last month by whooping cough in Mahomet had been vaccinated for the disease, a public health official said.

The four children, two at Lincoln Trail Elementary School and two at Mahomet Junior High School, got sick in November, with the latest case lab-confirmed Tuesday, said Rachella Thompson, communicable disease investigator for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Protection against whooping cough (pertussis), a contagious bacterial infection, comes in a combination pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus vaccine. But the protection can fade over time, requiring a booster dose, Thompson said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises a booster vaccine dose for adolescents at ages 11-12.

There have been eight pertussis cases in Champaign County this year, Thompson said.

In addition to the latest four in Mahomet, there was one unrelated case in Champaign in October and three in Champaign-Urbana earlier in the year, she said.

One of the Mahomet youths had severe symptoms, but didn't require hospitalization, she said. For the others, the symptoms were mild.

The disease starts out like a cold with a runny nose, but gradually progresses to violent coughing spasms and sometimes comes with a low-grade fever, Thompson said.

The treatment is being confined at home for five days on antibiotics, she said.

The health department sent letters home to parents and doctors in the area and followed up with the children's close contacts, Thompson said.

"We've pretty much blanketed the community with tons of information on pertussis," she added.

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