Whooping Cough in Ward County | VideoAmy Fox | 10/31/2012
"It can be contagious and not necessarily know at that point," said First District Health Unit Director of Nursing Penny Hamilton.
According to the North Dakota Department of Health, Ward County is leading the state with 38 reported cases of whooping cough.
“That statistic is probably not a true picture of what is really occurring here because those cases are the reported cases with individuals who have reported to a physician and have been tested,” said Hamilton. “We all know there can be individuals who do not seek medical care.”
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a bacteria found in the respiratory system, which can cause cold-like symptoms.
Hamilton said, "It can be easily spread when people talk, cough, or sneeze. If you have whooping cough or you`re harboring that bacteria, that`s when you can spread it to anyone else."
With nearly all of the reported cases in North Dakota involving children under the age of 18, Good Shepherd Day Care Center is turning to medical books as a way to manage possible infectious diseases.
"We`re watching for the symptoms, making sure we`re following proper hygiene, like washing our hands when they come into the center, after touching certain items and, you know, that we`re constantly just using good hand washing techniques to, you know, to keep the germs away," said Executive Director Sherry Wagner.
While there haven`t been any official reports of whooping cough at Good Shepherd Child Care Center, they do believe they are prepared in case a possible outbreak would occur.
"Nothing really alarms me anymore because I think, you know, we`ve got a couple of children parents that have opted not to do the immunizations too, so I think we are going to see some things coming around," said Wagner.
Whether or not you`ve had the whooping cough vaccination, we can only hope practicing good personal hygiene is enough to ward off the disease.
If you are infected with whooping cough, Hamilton says it takes five days for the antibiotics to kick in before you are not contagious.