MATTAWA, Wash.-- Health officials are investigating three confirmed cases of whooping cough among migrant farm workers in Grant County. The Grant County Health District said 210 people came in contact with the people who were sickened by pertussis in Mattawa and Quincy.
Authorities said the outbreak appeared to be localized.
“Preventing severe disease and death in infants is our highest priority,” said Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County Health Officer. “We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated and urge parents to vaccinate infants and children if they are not up to date.”
The Health Officer expected more people to become sickened by this outbreak of whooping cough. Brzezny recommended antibiotics for people who came in close contact with the infected patient. Health officials also recommended residents of the surrounding areas get the pertussis shot if they are not already up to date on the vaccine. The antibiotics are not recommended for the general public.
Officials said more than 200 people who were exposed to the illness received antibiotics in early July. The health department also offered the pertussis vaccine to all of the farm workers in the area.
Health officials said people who were sickened by the whooping cough in the past were not immune from getting it again.
A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one-to-two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits according to the health department. Anyone with symptoms is urged to contact their doctor immediately.